27 February 2015
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Enzo, he’s a London based artist whose practice is primarily concerned with the exploration of different components within the art world. The four exquisite works in oil, which we have hanging in the current show depict three super-heavyweight artists of the 20th Century in Francis Bacon, Egon Schiele and Frida Kahlo.The portraits of Schiele and Kahlo that carry a particular weight and poignancy due to the fact that both of the artists are depicted lying on their deathbeds, with the grim reaper presumably lurking somewhere out of sight. Their fleshy skin tones contrast powerfully against the monochrome background, as if the flickering embers of life are about to be engulfedby the blacknessof death. By creating portraits of these artists, Enzo directs the viewer into a different engagement with them aside from their art. When we think of Egon Schiele’s work, long limbed, sensual nudes spring to mind alongside a feeling of raw sexuality that emanates from his work. Through Enzo’s painting we get a glimpse of the figure behind these images. Deathbed (EgonSchiele) shows a vulnerable 28-year-old man about to succumb to Spanish flu, the early 20th century pandemic that claimed the lives of 20,000,000 people in Europe alone.
The two portraits of Francis Bacon also resonate strongly as they are so far removed from the artist’s own violent and disturbing paintings. In the seminal interviews Bacon made with David Sylvester he famously gave a typically macabre reason for painting his own likeness, “I loathe my own face… I’ve done a lot of self-portraits, really because people have been dying around me like flies and I’ve nobody else left to paint but myself.”Enzo obviously doesn’t share this loathing when interpreting Bacon as he says, “I have particularly enjoyed working from images of Francis Bacon, as he has the most wondrous face to meld out of applied paint.”
Enzo’s paintings demand to be seen in the flesh, up close. The way he applies oil paint gives the pictures incredible texture with a real 3-D quality. It’s easy to get lost when looking at the viscous peaks and troughs of pigment on the canvas. We’ll be visiting Enzo’s studio very soon to witness where the magic happens and catch up with the man himself, so WATCH THIS SPACE for a full interview and in the meantime get yourself down to gallery to see for yourself!