new picturesque (2011) - cyprien gaillard
The mounting hostility of people and place gains an appropriately vexed form in Cyprien Gaillard’s collage works and paintings. The paintings are for the most part European landscape studies from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth century executed in an already academic Romantic style, upon which Gaillard has silk-screened the famously insensitive Cleveland Indians baseball team logo. Gaillard first used this image during the filming of the 16mm film “Cities of Gold and Mirrors” (2009) when he painted it onto a large canvas flag and attached it to a tourist plane that flew over the beaches of Cancun and the ‘spring breakers’ beneath. Employed again in the Polaroid landscapes of Gaillard’s series “Fields of Rest” and here now in this new series of paintings, the image has a macabre, insistent quality. Hovering over the landscape, its heraldic presence stands for themes of displacement and exoticism that run through Gaillard’s work. In a new development, the image itself has been left in a state of imperfection -it’s surface broken allowing the landscape behind to come through. In both the film and in the painting, the Indian reappears as an already corrupted image on a scene that is no less corrupted.
- laura bartlett