Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Eye Spin

To look at Cristiano Pintaldi’s pixellated paintings feels very much like being sucked into a television screen and spat back out, simple images from the the TV screen draw your eye and as you construct the story from the still image only to find your eyes breaking under the strain. This combination of reality and fiction appears to be where Pintaldi leads us, under his hand these flat replications of televisual like images are rendered in small pixellated lines in red, green and blue on a black background, sunbtle shading finishes the image and from these dotted pieces of individual colour the image forms it is our own ocular failings which break the connection with the image.

The main image in this exhibition in the small unfussy space of Sprovieri Progetti is taken from television coverage of the Pope’s funeral in 2005. We are faced with a scene of sombre reflection on the faces of the Bush family, Bill Clinton and Condoleeza Rice, behind them Church elders bow their heads in respect at the loss of their figurehead. The power of successive generations of the international political elite alongside the elite of the Catholic church remind one very sharply of the distance between those who hold such global power and the rest of us, this is always clearly highlighted if you take the time to consider these things from in front of your television screen but in reality nearly always further from our thoughts than it should be. The effect of Pintaldi’s painting is to bring the reality starkly to us by showing the failure of the screen media to fully portray the reality, as scene of a funeral should bring sadness but very soon our minds wander to the images of the president, his family and previous incumbent and nothing else. In this three colour image we search for expressions on the faces of those depicted but with the three colour repetitive sequence of pixels my eyes flicker and adjust to determine a true image, the flattened screen like representation loses its images to become a series of eye straining repetitive patterns. The media removes its reality through the it’s technical limitations, metaphorically and technically fact and fiction become subordinate to the failure of the human eye, we watch but we cannot see.

The pixellated painting technique is used in smaller paintings, Jesus on the cross, Peter Sellers as Doctor Strangelove and a single female eye are all rendered with the three colour technique. It is the painting of the female eye that conceptually draws all four paintings together as a single entity. The very simple ideas of watching and seeing is made clear, as the eye once more breaks under the strain of observation the shades and shapes which combine to allow the eye to construct the image once more break to individual dots of colour and repetitive pattern, through the representation of a televisual depiction of an eye, it is what we cannot see which becomes more important than what we can.

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