Shapes of Time I
Painting on a painting from the 2nd half of the 18th century (ca.), 60 x 74 cm, acrylic on oil on canvas
Private collection of Mr. and Mrs. Renner
The damage and the crackled web that time had inflicted on the original painting become the basis for a new re-imagination. I pull out a new painting from the old one with white lining. I expose a painting that used to be hidden. In this painting, I am working only within the limits of the painting without any black underpaint. Thanks to that, the original painting can be seen under the white lines. A painting perhaps evoking the surrealistically organic landscapes of Max Ernst, woven from the spider web-like relations of time and oil paint, and the depiction of Virgin Mary with the Christ Child painted with this paint. The original painting, however, serves rather as an ironic leitmotif here. While searching for suitable paintings for this work, I stumbled upon the question of which kind of art is ‘allowed’ to be intervened into and which is not. This boundary is not clearly set at all. With these paintings, which I rescued from being burned and had them professionally conserved, I have thus seemingly gained my imaginary right to repaint them. I also had them assessed by an art historian focusing on the 18th and 19th century, Robert Janás, who told me that I will most certainly not succeed in finding out who the author was, since, judging from the style and craft of the painting, it is most likely an amateur-level folk painting from someone without an academic education. I am, thus, not risking anything by painting over it, I am not destroying the work of some renowned artist in the history of art. If it had been made by a renowned artist like, say, Van Gogh, I would be risking the destruction an art piece from the treasury of the world’s cultural heritage. According to this equation, I can thus use the potential of only that kind of art which had not been made by a renowned author (what does that even mean?), or art whose author had given me permission to intervene.