In 2015 Matthew Thompson was invited to work with a childhood friend he had recently reacquainted with. The setting was a newly opened used car dealership in the heart of the automotive industry of the Capital City. One day upon witnessing something he shouldn't have he was pulled into the real underpinnings of the business and was required to deceive time and time again, until his own true deception surfaced. On Top explores this environment through a photographic body and a collection of short stories. The photographic series glimpses at different men and closes in on one young man in particular, the childhood friend, as he navigates this turbulent space under the oppressive watchful eye of his investor. The short stories tie the images together and fill the gaps, building a portrait of this world and the men contained within it.
Throughout, On Top enforces a de-glamourisation of masculinity and men's lives.
Pray, Hope and Don't Worry
Padre Pio (Francesco Forgione) May 25th, 1887 - September 23rd, 1968 was born in a small townin Southern Italy. At age thirty one, on September 20th, 1918 the friar claims to have had a vision of a bleeding figure, upon begging for God’s assistance, he looked down to see that Jesus’s stigmata were now visible on his own body, blood pouring from him. He would display these marks on his body for half a century. The story of Padre Pio is one of corruption, consumerism, investigation and veneration. It’s a tale of faith vs science, hysteria vs suspicion; known and revered for reading minds, healing the sick, levitating and bilocation. He produced a secret letter for the delivery of carbolic acid, a substance believed to be consistent with the state of his ongoing & never healing stigmata. Despite such controversy and supernatural claims, he touched the hearts of many and his image is still ubiquitous across Southern Italy today, penetrating all classes. He can be found from the fruit seller’s lapino to the Prime Minister’s wallet. This is an ongoing body of work that will develop through numerous visits to the South. It is ultimately concerned with the rituals that surround this saint, superstition and the state of sanctity amidst his ceaseless shifting form.