As I embarked on painting this piece, I had been immersing myself in a stack of art documentaries and leafing through a book on Picasso that I acquired a year ago in Malaga. My desire was to create something that simultaneously brings a nuance of the artificiality transcending naturalness from pop art, while also seeking inspiration from past masters like Picasso and Braque. They deconstructed and reassembled the forms of objects from different perspectives, and this approach sparked my inspiration to explore identity.
The exploration of identity has always been central in art history, and for me, the themes of postmodernism, such as polysemy and relativity, have been particularly inspiring. In this work, the fragmentation and reconfiguration of faces represent the internal struggle to define our place in a complex, ever-changing world.
Perhaps one of the most striking features of this piece is the wide smiles on the faces. This smile, which may seem both genuine and forcedly cheerful, reflects the internal conflict many of us harbor. How often do we feel pressured to present ourselves in a certain way to meet societal expectations? Through the smile, I wanted to reflect the individual’s effort to adapt and respond to these expectations, while also challenging the notion of when a smile is real and when it is simply a mask. I have previously explored the mask theme in my work Bad Theater and the accompanying blog post I wrote about it.
With this painting, I invite you to contemplate how we define ourselves in relation to others and the world around us. It stands as a homage to the masters who preceded us and a bold step towards a new, entirely personal artistic expression – and perhaps also towards my own identity.