Sunny Side Up is artist Sunny’s new solar-themed show that doesn’t actually exist. And neither does Sunny. Confused? You should be used to fake news by now…
“I collected different balls — like glitter balls and golf balls — and incorporated them into a fake art show,” says Mirka Laura Severa, the Amsterdam-based artist behind Sunny Side Up, commissioned by WeTransfer. “I also created a fake artist named Sunny who only works with images of the sun.” For her latest project Solar Views, Mirka decided to stage and photograph a fictitious art exhibition of counterfeit suns made up of raw egg yolks and orange spheres. The gallery visitors, which include Donald and Melania Trump, all wear cautionary UV sunglasses to protect themselves from the powerful rays. Needless to say, the images are so convincing they could damage your eyes.
In case you don’t know: it’s 2018, Donald Trump is sitting in the Oval Office and fake news appears to be the president’s two favourite buzzwords. It’s Trump’s repeated attacks on the free press that inspired Mirka on her satirical new show: “I’m playing with the boundaries between real and fake,” the artist admits. “I like to address important social questions through my work. The image of the Trumps, for example, is a remake of a press photo from 2017. In my version, they’re both watching the solar eclipse.” By manipulating existing — even widely circulated — images, Mirka points to the liminal position between true and false, fact and fiction, and subtly mocks the ever-changing assortment of “alternative fact”.
After establishing her core idea, Mirka started researching various different representations of the sun in art. She then went on to recreate them using mundane objects and stock imagery. “I had the settings, the iconography and the characters that would be visiting the show clearly in my mind from the beginning,” the artist acknowledges. “I knew what I wanted them to wear and what they would look like.” The weather report, for example, already formed in Mirka’s mind before she had finalised the overarching concept. The weather woman is presenting the day’s meteorological readings in front of a giant egg yolk. Humour, Mirka seems to say, is the most powerful weapon against the assault on honesty.
“I like to play with the images we all know and recognise; images that can’t catch our attention anymore,” Mirka says. “This can either be a badly cropped selfie in front of a sunset, or people wearing sunglasses at art shows.” In Solar Views, Mirka prompts us to reconsider what is ordinary by rendering the familiar strange. Her project feels like a hilarious call to action to be critical and reflective; a necessary reminder in a time of Trump, his self-professed truths and fictitious news.
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