The Face in Your Place I & II

Saskia Pintelon
Saskia Pintelon, 2016

On the occasion of Saskia Pintelon’s solo exhibition at Saskia Fernando Gallery and her participation in the Colombo Art Biennale a publication was made. The book entitled ‘The Face in Your Place I & II’ is a rendering of the work on display at JDA gallery during the Colombo Art Biennale 2016.

 

In the period of 2005-07 Saskia Pintelon, Belgian artist residing in Sri Lanka made a series of large graphic works called the ‘Faces’ This series of paintings resulted in a book in the form of a leporello entitled ‘The Book of Faces.’

 

In 2012 Pintelon began revisiting her own work in this printed publication. The original ‘Faces’ become ‘Other Faces’ as she relentlessly – at first delicately, later more radically reworked, altered, camouflaged, transfigured, disfigured and sometimes destroyed or obliterated the images of the original ‘Faces’. Pintelon used the images of her own work as a base and intervened with collage and mixed media. This resulted in more than 35 unique artist books that are artworks in themselves.

 

Two of these customized leporellos stand apart from all the others, they are entitled ‘The Face in Your Place I & II’ and are exhibited as part of the CAB 2016, displayed in vitrines.

They began as a kind of a joke whereby Pintelon wished to prove that her work fits in any place or environment. She set about making collages in the ‘The Book of Faces’ with found material of spaces.The results are tongue in cheek images where her ‘faces’ appear in the most diverse spaces from cozy home interiors, to museums, galleries, libraries. These fractured parts of the faces appear in a wide array of forms. Certain are just an eye peering through or hanging in a space, others look like real artworks hung amongst others, still others are like in-situ installations, whilst others seem naturally part of a wall or décor.

 

The effect looks strikingly natural as it looks as if the fractured ‘Faces’ have always been part of the décor or setting. Some give a voyeuristic impression, giving the eery feeling that someone is looking into the space. Others are more intimistic. The part of the Face, is a foreign element, a dissonant in the image and yet often it merges seamlessly with the space and the other elements.

 

It is Pintelon’s way of conceiving space with her customary humor. She intervenes in the images of an existing space to make it her own and simultaneously intervenes in her existing work and thereby gives both a whole new life and meaning. Like someone once said that no home in Sri Lanka was complete without a painting by Saskia Pintelon she wanted to show that she is able to appropriate any space. She enters given spaces and through her intervention alters not just the physical, visual reality of them but gives them another soul.