Reinterpreting the landscape as a stage for mysterious incidents combining elements from dreams, nightmares and occasionally true stories
Motivated by a compulsion to repurpose intriguing environments de Silva reimagines them as places of mystery, fear and suspense. Through the addition of choreographed tableaux suggesting notions of dread, mortality and the uncanny the work sets out to construct fantasies that question our relationships with reality and fiction. The motifs of childhood anxieties like solitude, incapacity, blindness, fire, death and monsters pervade the work creating theatrical narratives that invoke scenes from folklore and mythology
Drawing heavily on the dreamlike sensations that permeate works by Bosch and Bruegel, the tensions that occupy Francis Bacon’s paintings, the intensity and despair of Gericault and the imagination of Arthur Tress, Duane Michals and Joel Peter Witkin, de Silva creates works that propose inexplicable events and alternate geographies. The familiar and the serene are scarred with what Barthes described as Punctom, disrupting the sanctity of the image and questioning its intentions. As Jeff Wall recounts events and Gregory Crewdson finds unease in the sanctuary of suburbia, de Silva employs allegory and metaphor to invite speculation & inquiry.
Created in Thailand & China and many years in the making, the Nemesis project builds on de Silva’s earlier work exploring veneration and mortality whilst motivated by a compulsion to create spectacular, uncompromising images layered with meaning and connotation. The artworks are painstakingly constructed through merging staged scenarios with long exposure night-scapes to create large format images that challenge the viewer to devise their own narratives