Glue and pigments on paper
42 × 30 cm (16 9/16 × 11 13/16 in.)
On an intense green background with no horizon, marked by a strong fingerpainted touch, an anonymous male portrait, made up of incandescent and raw colours, vibrates with a fluorescent yellow halo. As if painted by a thermal camera, the cold blues of the face—light for the bald head and dark for the flesh of the cheeks and chin—meet the orange of the shoulders and the neck, the bloody reds of the trachea, the edges of the nose, and the eyes. The fingerprints suggest the volumes of the temples and the hollows of the ears, adding expressiveness to the wrinkles of the forehead, as if the trace of these gestures had animated this face with an intense, enigmatic fire.
Since the 1970s, Miriam Cahn's art has been expressed through a rich palette of colours that are both diaphanous and electrifying. The artist's favourite theme is the human body and figure, most often through the representation of women and children. She works with an uncompromising nudity, instilled with a raw and overwhelming intrinsic femininity. There is an intensity in this artist's painting that makes her say that she paints as if she were performing. Her paintings are also the manifestation of her political and feminist engagement. The artist extends these gestures to the way she hangs her paintings and drawings.
This work is presented for the first time by the Pinault Collection in 2021, in the inaugural exhibition of the Bourse de Commerce, entitled "Ouverture".