Papu lives a short distance outside of Pushkar in Rajasthan, India. I met him at the famous Pushkar Camel Fair, and after a chai he invited me back to his hut, that he lives in with the other 7 members of his family, to share a meal.
After we had finished eating he brought out a ravanahatha, a traditional Rajasthani stringed instrument, and played whilst his wife sang. He lives without electricity or running water, burning camel dung as fuel in the cold desert nights, and busking with his ravanahatha during the day.
Painting: gouache, watercolor and colored pencil on paper, 52.7 x 37.8 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
This watercolor is one in a series of self-portraits that Spilliaert executed in 1907 and 1908. He has depicted himself sitting astride a bentwood chair, his drawing board propped up before him, in the act of creating the very self-portrait that we are viewing. He is surrounded by the familiar, everyday objects of his studio-coat rack, umbrella, gas lamp-and yet the picture as a whole suggests the illusory nature of visual reality. Behind the artist hangs a rectangular mirror, reflecting yet another mirror with an ornate frame, which we can assume holds the image that the artist is copying. Moreover, the placement of the multiple mirrors over Spilliaert’s head suggests a search for identity in the mental processes of his art. At this point in his career, at the age of twenty-six, Spilliaert had worked for the publisher Edmond Deman in Brussels and was on the verge of obtaining gallery representation in Paris. Although he mingled with various literary and artistic circles in that cultural capital, showing his work in numerous group salon exhibitions, Spilliaert was never affiliated with any one group or movement, but maintained a certain individualistic, independent status throughout his career.
Meet the Renaissance Characters Inside Romina Ressia’s Imagination
(This interview was conducted in Spanish.)
To see more of Romina’s portraits, check out @rominaressia on Instagram.
When she was just 5 years old, Argentine artist Romina Ressia (@rominaressia) became fascinated by a reproduction of Las Meninas, a baroque painting by Diego Velázquez, that hung on a wall in her aunt’s home. Now she reimagines classical paintings, especially those from the Renaissance, in her portrait photography with contemporary characters and props, like microwave popcorn.
“Although my work may appear to be about the past, it is quite the opposite,” says Romina, who explores themes like the desire to belong, imitation and the value of success in our time. “My images arise from my interpretation of contemporary society faced with both timeless problems and new events.”