Act 1, Act 2, Act 3 is Levi Campello’s first solo collection after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2019. The collection was initially born out of a reflection on paintings of dancers by Edgar Degas, Toulouse Lautrec, and Pablo Picasso. Deeply inspired by the beauty of the dancers and what kind of lives they lived in the late 19th century, Levi wanted to explore the untold stories of the women and their suitors off stage that aren't depicted in the paintings. He uses exaggerated female silhouettes and merges them with male suiting, reconfiguring the body and subjecting it to the male gaze.
The collection is broken into three acts as if each were their own performance, each telling dramatically different stories with different performers.
Act 1 shows three different characters placed in front of brightly painted signs that are disheveled and weathered. Each character matches and rivals the absurdity of the signage while reframing the connotations of a “streetwalker” and referencing the performance aspect of being on the street revealing the body.
Act 2 recreates the iconic “Murder Shower” scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960’s thriller Psycho. All shot on black and white polaroid film, the performer is not only the victim within the scene but also the executioner in drag. It is with intention to queer the scene even more by making the male the victim and perpetrator that simultaneously subjects himself to his own power and violence.
Act 3 is the final performance where Levi himself turns into the performer and reveals himself to the camera. Within the bleak set, there is a hanging piece of meat brutally pierced with a hook. He is aware of the viewer, enticing them with his body and provocation like another dangling piece of meat to be consumed.
Through examining the untold stories of late 19th century performers as inspiration, the collection seeks to make visible the contemporary and political notions of performance in relation to sex work.
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