Portrait in A-Flat


Mixed media : oil on gesso over plywood, fabric, photograph, human hair, wood, rubber glove, a one dollar U.S. bill

147.5 x 82.5 x 5.1 cm (58 1/16 x 32 1/2 x 2 in.)

A bust topped with a deformed head, partially hidden under an enigmatic photo collage, Portrait in A flat is in many ways a peculiar representation. But Llyn Foulkes pushes the strangeness of this portrait even further by uprooting it from the flat wood surface: the composition extends outside the painting and merges with the exhibition space.

This assembly of rubbish and objects found on the street – human hair, textiles, a rubber glove, even a one dollar bill – embodies with panache Foulkes’ complex representations that combine authentic materials and alienated characters. In his exploration of quirky formal experiments, the artist has been distorting portraits since the early 1970s.

Pairing humour with anguish in a repulsive inhuman portrait, Llyn Foulkes’ Portrait in A flat criticises the financial speculations of an American society he sees as declining. Part of the Pinault Collection, this painting was first shown at the 2013 “Prima Materia” (“Raw Material”) exhibition at the Punta della Dogana.