Graphite and watercolor on handmade paper.
Painted surface 38 x 56 cm (14.96 x 22.05 in ) in a format of 38 x 56 cm (14.96 x 22.05 in)
Year of realization 2019
Signed on the bottom right of the piece.
Preliminary work belonging to the Flowers and Thorns series.
This work belongs to the most personal work of the author. They are that type of work that is created without the specific objective of reaching an exhibition or a book. Those pieces that the artist makes to reaffirm an idea, the beginning of a project or find a plastic solution. These are works in which his original motivation is the intimate and private dialogue with the author himself. And before the intention of that work belongs to a plan, we have considered in Laberinto Gris that showing a grouped part of these works would be an attractive challenge for us. A privilege to be the first to show them to the light.
Figurative painting, it seems, is destined to be contemporary art’s perennial sidepiece: always available for a fling, never for very long. The last time one could admit to a passion for it without committing social suicide in the art world was probably around 2003, when the painter John Currin had his midcareer survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art, in New York. Currin, known for injecting new ideas into age-old images of the body, was handsome, successful, and youthful. His peers were also of the moment: Elizabeth Peyton palled around with Marc Jacobs, and George Condo bedeviled collectors with lewd portraiture. The year before Currin’s retrospective, an exhibition curated by Alison Gingeras at the Centre Pompidou, in Paris, “Dear Painter, Paint Me…Painting the Figure Since Late Picabia,” had opened to acclaim. As the critic Roberta Smith observed in TheNew York Times, “reports of painting’s death have been exaggerated for about 30 years.”
“The body in crisis is increasingly present in our daily lives,” notes MoMA PS1 curator and associate director Peter Eleey, who headed up the “Greater New York” 2015 curatorial team. “Whether it’s in reference to the refugee situation”—he didn’t specify which one, but there are plenty—“or the way the media is processing Black Lives Matter, abstraction has been comfortable—for us. But it doesn’t give shape to the discomforts and questions that I think a lot of us are grappling with.” Deitch seconds that, adding, “This is not a time when a ponderous Mark Rothko painting about myth is relevant.” He ventures that figurative painting allows for more-diverse cultural contentclothing, skin color, setting—than abstraction ever can.
- W - Fan Zhong