‘Monosodium Glutamate’

Pocko Exhibition

Pocko Gallery is pleased to showcase the photography of Chino Moya. Multidiscipliarian by nature, Chino combines filmmaking and photography to explore themes of loneliness, collapsing utopias and the decline of traditional masculinity often employing dark and absurd humour.

Monosodium Glutamate represents the unfulfillment of a promise – the collapse of the idea of a capitalist paradise and the decline of its centuries-old uncontested patriarchal ruling class.

Inspired by José de Ribera, the Baroque painter, who used vagrants as models for his religious paintings, Moya looked for white middle-aged men living in the fringes in London, Los Angeles and Madrid. Setting up these portraits in a modern environment, the body language that used to convey a mystical experience in classical paintings mutates into the appearance of neuroticism or disorder.

It turns into the silent screams of a collection of anonymous, isolated men trapped in a mundane hell deprived of any kind of spirituality or community, a dystopian void where societal ideals are turned upside down.

The nature of man is his artificiality – Karl Jaspers

The collection also includes small still lifes of objects that once symbolised piety – the attributes normally portrayed with the Christian saints to define their identities.

In these photographs, the sublime quality of the religious paintings that inspired them have transformed into a banal and pathetic absurdity, reflecting the cultural and material degradation of Western societies. The meaningless objects – once meticulously created in workshops of local craftsmen – are now merely mass-produced clutter.

I wanted to depict the transformational, the transcendent, in a world completely devoid of spirituality. I was looking for a glimmer of evidence – any possibility of that existing, even in a plastic object from a pound shop, for example.

There’s a lot of irony here, at points hopeless, but I find beauty in banality – that’s always been part of my personality.

– Chino Moya, Photographer & Filmmaker

For the opening night, the notorious Deep Tan played a DJ set to transfigure the space. Part of london’s thriving post-punk scene, deep tans’ stripped-back, minimal sound is a vehicle for songs that engage with contemporary themes, from deepfake revenge pornography to gender-expansive ideology and stories of furry hedonism.