Mindo Cikanavicius’ Comedic Series “Bubbleissimo” Questions The Meaning Of Masculinity

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New York based artist Mindo Cikanavicius photographs portraits of men with foam “facial hair.” Within this series, titled Bubbleissimo, (perhaps making a play on the word “machismo”), the artist distorts the notion of masculinity through a comedic display of the growing obsession with groomed facial hair. His work aims to speak about the fragility and absurdity of what “manliness” means, depicting it as being just as allusive and indefinite as the bubbles meant to represent it.  These works portray the sitters in a sort of kitschy, glamor portrait style, engulfed in one side of sky blue and one side of bubble gum pink, the colors used to denote gendered objects. His series mocks the need to define and portray what it means to be masculine, and, through what seems at first glance to be an overtly serious series, successfully, upon further inspection, invites in a air of making fun of itself. Once it becomes clear that this facial hair is in fact made of bubbles, the work switches from being a strange cataloging of men, to a witty depiction of gender norms. His artist statement notes that “Mindo is focused creating story based unexpected moments with touch of cinematic drama, humor and mystery. His work is a blend of ideas, imagination, observations, experiences and emotions into making intriguing constructed reality photographs.”

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