060513: Artmark Galerie Wien - Florentina Pakosta

Artmark Galerie Wien Florentina Pakosta 25.04.2013 – 01.06.2013 Of colourful beams and masked men By Hannah Winkelbauer To mark the occasion of Austrian artist Florentina Pakosta’s eightieth birthday in October, the Galerie Artmark is currently displaying her most recent work. Pakosta, who creates as much as ten large-format paintings every year, looks much younger than 79. And not only because of her bright red hair and her athletic figure. It’s her alert mind and her bright eyes that radiate youthfulness. She is full of ideas for new paintings and the current exhibition shows that Pakosta continuously develops her skills further and enjoys experimenting. The gallery presents some of her “Tricolored Paintings”: large-format canvases consisting of three-coloured beams arranged in a grid-like structure - characterized by contrasting and intensive colours as well as rigid lines. “I believe that with this pattern I can best express our time and how I see it”, Pakosta said. She created these paintings after the fall of the Iron Curtain and in commemoration of the heaps of rubble in Vienna during World War II. Pakosta always focussed on facial expresions and gestures – also in her constructivist paintings: “It’s all about emotions such as the feeling of being locked up or pushed back – “behind bars”. But it’s also about networks, being interlinked in this digital era. And my memories about the war are very vivid”, the artist said. In the exhibition one now also sees paintings in four colours and – another novelty in her work – with curved beams. Moreover, small-format drawings in subdued colours created as a continuation of the principle of her large beam-paintings are displayed. Prior to her constructivist phase, Pakosta was known for her large portraits depicting politicians and museum directors. She developed these works (i.e. Walter Koschatzky, Alfred Hrdlicka, Friedrich Heer and Helmut Zilk) based on Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’s “Character Heads”. All of her portraits depicted men. “Women, mainly feminists, often thought I wanted to heroize men. On the contrary! I added something caricature-like. They appear threatening and at the same time also slightly ridiculous. And that’s exactly the way it was.” The “mask” – Pakosta refers to this as a strategically conscious facial expression – of politicians, directors or artists was what interested her most. Likeness was not as important. And that’s also why she had no problem when they expressed their desire to have their portrait embellished. “Some men asked me to add more hair, so would look nicer. I fulfilled their wish and made them look better than they actually were. And it’s this ideal picture that makes the portraits slightly ridiculous.” She always enjoyed painting men more than women - it was easier for her. “Unless he had a beard – I never enjoyed painting so much hair”. Pakosta’s subtle acid wit and humour come to light with these remarks. Her non-conformism can be sensed in her current work. Similar to the large-format portraits and their relentless impression it is hard to escape the engaging presence of her new pictures. There is still much to expect from the artist who is not thinking of stopping to work for a long time to come – “Retirement? Honestly, I don’t know what that’s supposed to be.” Artmark Galerie Wien 1010 Vienna, Singerstraße 17 Tel: +43 (0)1 5129880 Fax: +43 (0)1 51298804 email: wien@artmark.at http://www.artmark.at Opening hours: Tue - Fri 12:00 - 18:00, Sat 11:00 - 14:00 hours

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