The identity of these portrait subjects is denied to the viewer because of the brutal cut that subverts the traditional head and shoulders style of photography. There are no faces in the foreground, merely the “good shoes”, carefully preserved for the big day. The image escapes the iconographic plot of the familiar romance to become a grainy enlargement of a popular past, representing the story of an entire culture.
Out of frame enlargement
This work was created using hypertrophied magnification, via plotter, of a tiny family photograph. The artist chooses to eliminate the traditional elements of portraiture, such as the characters’ faces. Instead, she guides the gaze of the viewer to the clothes, the shoes and the posture of the subjects, gathering aspects of character that would otherwise remain unobserved. The painting, meagre and faded because of the pure linseed oil emulsion on the surface of the canvas and the photocopy, chases the remnants of a proud and dignified humility through the folds of memory. The Latin poet Tibullus – author of the words contentus vivere parvo – would have appreciated the tenacious and slightly elegiac tone.
Like a billboard
Mounted on a canvas and exhibited on an exterior wall, the intention was to replicate the visual impact of a city billboard. A visual fragment that stands out almost casually against the hectic chaos of the urban landscape, immediately reminiscent of poetic memory, out of focus and out of frame.