“Quoting the visual conventions of Instagram selfies”
In recent years, Gatsas has focused on a long-time study of London's bass music scene and shot numerous portraits of musicians for magazines like Wire, Dazed and Confused, and Electronic Beats, which reappear in his personal work. Here, he presents portraits of young men and women whose attire and attitude epitomize a certain urban now-ness. It's the way 2013 looks. The backdrops of the portraits – colored walls, shrubs and greenery – offer no indication where the pictures were taken, and indeed they could have been taken in any major Western city, since styles and tastes today are defined to a high degree by the Internet. The sportswear and patterned shirts they wear are ubiquitous monikers of hipness. The images themselves reference Internet culture by quoting the visual conventions of the Instagram selfies that have abounded in recent years. Upon closer inspection, however, music aficionados might recognize some of the sitters. Experimental electronic producers Laurel Halo, Xeno & Oaklander's Liz Wendelbo, Nik Colk Void, Fatima Al Qadiri, and Visionist are shown alongside portraits of young people that Gatsas encountered in Zurich and London. Yet for the series as a whole it is not important who exactly the sitters are, what matters is the overall definition of a certain moment of time by means of portraiture. Although the sitters are highly style-conscious and adept at projecting an image of themselves, Gatsas manages to capture astonishingly relaxed and intimate views of them, a testimony to the sensitivity of his approach. It's this tension between the artifice of style and the immediacy of facial expression and body posture that makes Gatsas' images so poignant.
Martin Jaeggi, Electronic Beats, Issue N° 36, Winter 2013/2014