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Ophelia (I Feel Ya)

When Hamlet tells Ophelia to “get thee to a nunnery,” he is either literally referring to a convent of nuns or using the common slang of the day for a brothel. After her death, arguments about whether she resides in heaven as an angel—if it was an accident—or in hell for eternal damnation—if it was a suicide—are hotly debated among the Catholic characters.


A nun or a sex worker? An angel or a devil? So much that we cannot know is echoed across the lifeless eyes of that girl in the water. I like to think that she was simply absorbed by nature, that she didn’t really go mad at all, but was reclaimed by the old Danish gods and became a kind of creature of the earth, a mermaid, a dryad. There is always an element of the pagan in depictions of her, for she is magical, isn’t she? With a mere 58 lines in the play, she has bewitched generation after generation.


The installation at Lucas Lucas is a worthy homage—hung with live flowers overhead by artist Lindsay Jones, they recall those Ophelia hands out in the surreal scene where she shocks the other characters with her strange version of insanity—the space becomes like an upside-down world: are we looking up at the surface of the river down which Ophelia floated? The artworks are various contemplations of the female form, often borrowing from classical art depictions of Ophelia floating in the river, evoking a lovely netherworld. Other pieces are simple, edgy, sexy, cool. It is refreshing when content and presentation cohere with a sense of freshness and fun—leave it to Lucas Lucas to do so.

'Gasping,' Yana Toyber
'Dreaming,' Yana Toyber
'Spray,' Yana Toyber
'Mantra,' Cynthia (Karin) Cortes
'Trust,' Cynthia (Karin) Cortes
'Surrender,' Cynthia (Karin) Cortes
'Underneath it All,' Jianca Lazarus
'Fall Into Me,' Jianca Lazarus
'A Woman's Body,' Natalie Krim
Natalie Krim, "Key."
'Under Her Breath,' Claudia Santiso
'Purple Explosion,' Claudia Santiso
Lindsay Jones installation view.
'Carmen,' Etta Shon
'Transformation,' Etta Shon

'Ophelia (I Feel Ya)' will be on view through October 7, 2018, at Lucas Lucas in Brooklyn. Don't miss Tea and Tarot with the artists, Sunday 23rd from 1:30-4 PM at the gallery, with dreamcatcher weaving and self-pampering activities. Photos courtesy of the gallery. 

Video credits: director: Yana Toyber editor: Bijoux Altamirano starring: Ilona Sruzik floral design and styling: Rawan Rihani of Aurora Botanica.

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