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OPENINGS: STEPHEN G. RHODES

Stephen G. Rhodes, Dar Allers War Ne’er Eny Bear Bear, 2009, mixed media. Installation view, Isabella Bortolozzi Galerie, Berlin. Photo: Nick Ash.

STANLEY KUBRICK’S THE SHINING (1980) has no shortage of famously chilling moments. Yet the most haunting of these might be a brief shot, from the POV of beleaguered wife Wendy Torrance (Shelley Duvall), of two ghosts in flagrante delicto, one dressed in a bear costume, on “his” knees and apparently servicing a tuxedoed man seated on the edge of a bed. The camera rapidly zooms in; the ghosts appear to glower back. It’s over in a flash, and does little or nothing to advance the film’s narrative, but on repeat viewings the ambiguous plushie blow job image implies significant trauma: a primal scene.

For his ambitious 2009 exhibition at Isabella Bortolozzi Galerie in Berlin, Stephen G. Rhodes situated the bear, along with other elements of Kubrick’s horror film, at the center of an equally disturbing narrative that drew on another classic of repressed trauma: Walt Disney’s 1946 Song of

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