THE PORTRAITS OF MEN
Exhibition in the Cathedral of the medieval city of Vaison-la-Romaine, France/2023
The exhibition consists of a series of large scale black and white portraits of young contemporary men. They all express a certain melancholy, suffering, or pain as if they are victims of some kind.
In front of the cathedral’s altar is a tryptich with 3 portraits of a 22 years old Ukrainian man assasinated by Russian soldiers. This tryptich gives us a key to understanding the sadness in the eyes of the other portraits.
The exhibition is using the cathedral as a conceptual space to discuss death and pain. It aims at shifting our perspective and confront us with the young man as a victim. The paintings presents the vulnerability of young contemporary men in a Europe today in war. The exhibition is an artistic statement against Putin’s war in Ukraine.
All the young men portraited in this exhibition in the cathedral express a certain melancholy, suffering, or pain as if they are victims of some kind of violence. Why does violence in all its forms still exist in our socially, culturally, and politically highly developed societies?
Art cannot give us answers, but it can perhaps shift our perspective. This exhibition presents the vulnerability of young men. It presents the young man as a victim.
This event was dedicated the 22-year-old Ukrainian man that is portraited on the triptych his face disappearing into the darkness of our memory. The young man was assassinated by Russian soldiers. He died defending his country and our freedom.
The event was not a theatre performance. And it was not a concert. It was an attempt to focus one’s mind on the war in Ukraine and the destinies of those young men having to face this war. It was an attempt to spend some hours together in the beautiful cathedral while shifting our attention to those not as fortunate as us living in peace. In the very moment of the performance young Ukrainians were fighting for their lives and our freedom. Some of them were killed or mutilated for life.