This could be a story about surrendering—surrendering to circumstance and discarding the futile desire to be in control. It is a portrait of embarrassment, sewn up and inaccessible in order to forget and go forward.
However, it is at the same time homage to and obsession with control—a sadistically hand-sewn costume that can never be worn by a nonexistent giant.
Without ignoring the obvious incarnation of the King of the Jungle or the Cowardly Lion, it’s a defeated and deflated icon of strength, bravery, and the majestic—a menacing creature made foolish, flaccid and without threat.
A costume or a mask is simply a way to be something without consequence. It’s a safe place to misbehave and be out of character (in character?) without having to put your foot in your mouth, feel mortified or apologize. This ancient and magical invention of humanity has taught us how to behave in real-life by allowing us to hide in and become something or someone else. It’s a place where you are allowed to be nobody.
These photos were taken by John Rieppenhoff, of Green Gallery West, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where it was shown in September 2010. You Get To Be Nobody was first shown in Ask The Lonely, a group show in July 2010 at Worksound Gallery, Portland, Oregon.