Chirts & Cloves

The School of Eros

by Allen Frame

Nathalie Guio, Igor Morales, and Inuuteq Storch met in school, in the same way that so many “schools” of art get started. Thrown together in an immersive nine-month program at the In- ternational School of Photography in New York in the fall of 2015, they discovered affinities, bounced ideas off each other, partied together out of school, and fell in love— a love story, that is, for Guio and Morales, from Colombia and Brazil respectively, and a story of friendship for Inuuteq, who was already in a relationship with his love back home.

Chirts and Cloves, the title they chose for their group exhibition in Greenland (and reunion), hints at the spirit of fun and frivolity in their experience of New York, “chirts” being slang for a type of street drug, (a wordplay on “hearts”) and cloves being the sweet-smelling spice. Spicy love and bonding, then, in an urban setting: latin lovers hanging out with a bighearted guy from Greenland who yearns for the late 60’s “summer of love” and savors its latter-day itera- tions.

While it’s easy to find a romantic theme throughout their work, the myriad ways they circle the age-old subject of love are actually quite disparate. A concern with the emotional, psychologi- cal, and autobiographical ties them together, though, along with their appearances in each other’s work. 

Storch’s series Maybe I Am a Garden is a haunting and whimsical series of self-portraits at home, in which, in a spirit of empathy, Storch subtly mimics his girlfriend’s gender, wearing a crown of daisies, and sporting daisies stuck to and suspended from his nude body, creating a vision of himself as a flower child in the eden of his apartment. His other two series both ex- press deeply felt yearning. A series of grainy family snapshots reflects his desire to bring back a bygone familial closeness, and his series of distressed images of landscapes references the painful loss of a friend in childhood.