Luke Hardy explores the human psyche in his new series of photographs inspired by Japanese folklore, in particular, the kitsunē or fox.
Courtly figures, some in lustrous silks, lead us into chilly nightscapes where wild foxes gather. Traditional tales tell of these animals converging at night, ‘their gatherings marked by clusters of little yellow-red lights called foxfires, or kitsunē-bi in Japanese. These are sometimes visible far off in the dark, appearing in pairs and about eye-height off the ground,’ says the artist.
‘Foxes are poets of beguilement. They are also masters of trespass. In Japanese yōkai folklore, foxes even have the ability to take human form, entering our bodies through our dreams’, says an enchanted Hardy. ‘I like the fact they steal across thresholds and defy our keep out signs. Art must also do that.’
In Hardy’s ghostly, imagined compositions, we enter an altered state of consciousness, balancing on a thin line between spiritual and sensual in search of our inner selves. In these photographs, the frame acts as a threshold, with subjects occasionally passing in or out of view; snippets of a larger, more complex narrative lie beyond the borders of the camera’s lens. It is here within these extended scenes that Hardy encourages us to create our own stories and imaginings, morphing like the kitsunē into new identities.
Presented by ARTHERE as part of the 2019 Head On Festival.
Stanley Street Gallery
24 April to 11 May 2019