The Pink Spy 1

Narcisse Tordoir


Drawing, 340 x 480 cm.
Materials: pastel on paper, mounted on dibond

Collection: Courtesy Galerie Van De Weghe, Antwerp.

Giambattista Tiepolo is considered as the last Venetian painter of the Rococo. He flooded the aristocracy with paintings of high quality in bright colors. In grandiose, theatrical settings, he provided decoration commissioned by clerics and noblemen for their churches and palaces. But if one looks beyond the technically virtuoso aspects of his painting, we recognize how acute, how ironic and mocking Tiepolo could be vis-à-vis his patrons: an element well seen in the series 'Capricci' and 'Scherzi di fantasia', present in the exhibition. These engravings bubble with irony, transmitted to us here via curious, theatrical creatures.

In the five works within Narcisse Tordoir's series ‘The Pink Spy’, the artist has adopted a similar theatrical composition as his point of departure. Here, too, the staging poses its own questions. Something of the sacred reigns with Tordoir, while the scenes of Tiepolo burst with frivolity and exuberant ornament. The figures are still and attentive amidst the debris, the rubble, the scratches and the spots originating from the recording studio, but also of later remnants accruing during the re-working and assembling of this piece. With these latterly applied 'remains', Tordoir first of all confronts the viewer with a physically flat image, rather than a representation as reproduction of reality. With these operations and actions, Narcisse Tordoir further mystifies the grand tableaux by absenting major narrative lines. This creates a pre-surreal visual language where context is omitted.

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