Many of my installations are made out of things I stumbled upon at random places. Sometimes I also use purely organic material. A year ago, I found a collection of reproduction prints of painting by several Old Masters, simply lying around in the street. It was very diverse: Flemish, Florentine, Venetian etc. They were printed on old paper and some of them were already mildewed. The bundle was surely something that somebody found in his basement and wanted to get rid of, something completely understandable, given that it is possible to find these paintings digitally, presented in high resolution on the Google Art Project.
Nevertheless, I took the collection with me to store them in my atelier. I somehow knew that I would someday use them for a new project. From time to time, I experimented a bit with them, I altered them using paint, scissors, tried to create collages out of them. During that process, I often thought of the person who threw away the prints. Maybe it was a young guy who found the collection in the basement of his new apartment. Or an old man bought them 50 years ago and then put them on the street, just like that.
Of course, it is legitimate to ask if these paintings still affect us in the days of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Do they still speak to us, do we remember them? Today, 140 characters can mobilize millions of people. A video that lasts less than 10 seconds can initiate protests. Is there anything left within these paintings that can create a kind of meaning in such times? Their message seems to take too long to be transferred. Nowadays, people can lose patience when a website needs just five seconds longer to load. In a ‘classical’ painting, you cannot even comprehend the whole composition in five seconds.
Revisited Classics is an attempt to answer all these questions. Based on my developing thoughts, I started to paint over whole images with black paint. I left only a tiny spot free on every image. Thus, the information gets condensed into a minimal form, a very small fragment of the original.
But in this world of the Web 2.0, full of Social Media, memes and trolls, the only things that survive and become famous are plain and simply the anecdotal, the pornographic, the humorous, those things which the masses unconsciously choose. However, in the „world“ of the Installation, I am that which actively makes the selection. Small pieces of classical paintings for the present, an optimized view of the past that becomes the present. Almost a Classics 2.0.
Part of the series Installations for Nobody.
Aus der Reihe: Installation für Niemanden.
Oscar Ledesma 2013 ©