Friday, 29 September 2023, 13:25
This forceful exhibition is actually made up of 40 works. Arranged in two rows, the paintings show the artist's face. As if it were her Instagram wall where she posts her selfies. But instead of a mobile phone camera, she has used paint. And instead of using filters to illuminate or pronounce the features, German-Brazilian artist Janaina Tschäpe shows herself as she sees herself, with her fears and weaknesses exposed. All that we usually hide in our online profile.
And the result couldn't be more shocking. The eyes of the artist's self-portraits look directly at us and interrogate us, they call out to us. Some look like the faces of comic-book villains, others are reminiscent of Munch's famous painting Scream, some convey fear and unease, although as you go along they become more positive and luminous.
Here she intends to show herself as she is, without trickery or Photoshop. For this reason the artist has titled her exhibition at the CAC Malaga 'Soy mi propio paisaje' (I am my own landscape), which is her first solo show in Spain since she exhibited at the Reina Sofía more than twenty years ago.
"The pandemic made me look at myself, as happened to everyone because of the circumstances at the time, and I went back to looking in the mirror because I wanted to know honestly where I was 20 years later and how we are hooked on using mobile phones and showing a superficial image of ourself", explained the German-Brazilian artist at the presentation of her exhibition last Friday.
After a few years in which she experimented with alternative formats, such as video and photography, Janaina Tschäpe has returned to paintbrushes to lay bare her feelings and the way she sees the world. "With painting I wanted to go further and show my saddest, innermost parts and exhibit who I truly am", she said.
This self-reflection contains a powerful critique of our dependence on mobile phones and the need to show a happy life, especially by young people.
"My idea is to launch a debate on this issue. I have a daughter who is not that hooked on social media and TikTok yet, but she is very aware of this means of communication as we are all very aware of it because it is taking over, so it seemed to me a good exercise to ask ourselves about the slavery to which we are subjected, relationships with others and with ourselves", said Tschäpe who added that she does not consider Self Portrait (2020-22) finished with her forty works on display, but that she plans to continue increasing this alternative Instagram wall with new self-portraits.
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