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Mat Collishaw and Caravaggio

janvier 13, 2013


by Mat Collishaw

“I was not thinking directly about Caravaggio when I made the Narcissus picture but I think it possibly shares a few similarities with his technique. His paintings are exemplary in the use of the common place and everyday mundanity of the characters and their settings. They are quite shocking in their depiction of religious figures who had generally been portrayed in a much more reverential manner. In Caravaggio we see, or at least imagine we see, the dirt under the apostles figure nails, the broken nose of the figure looking on. Each bristles with a visceral intensity that situates them in the present, they are not idealized at all and appear very alive and very mortal. In The incredulity of Saint Thomas (1601-1602, the most copied painting of Caravaggio), the flesh of the Christ’s torso concentrates the viewer gaze, as it were a strange and very sensual landscape; in Narcissus, my naked torso and body folds are in the center of the picture while my face is unseen. Furthermore, Jesus holds Thomas’ hand and guides it into the wound, which inspired another photograph of mine were I get my own finger into my own wound…”

“My Narcissus attempts to elevate the lonely figure in the council estate into a mythological realm. The realism only heightens the absurdity of this self absorbed and deluded young man. At the same time the mud and concrete enhance the intensity of the self absorption. Above all, the dirt and flesh in both cases tell us about our bodily life, whether mine, or the Christ’s.”

Mat Collishaw

More info about the show, follow this link

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