The work by the young artist Vivian Greven is a tribute to the canon of art history, and through precise observation, she examines traditional pictorial phenomena, motives and perspectives.
In her latest group of works, GRAZIA, she chooses Antonio Canova’s sculptural depiction of the three graces as a starting point for her artistic exploration. Based on the digital images of the sculpture, Greven observes detailed fragments, which she enlarges and brings into focus. This practice means a double revision of the artwork: on the one hand, there is a mimetical shift from the three-dimensional original sculpture, over the digital reproduction, to the two-dimensional painting; on the other hand, there is the art-historical shift of a phenomenological connotation throughout the centuries.
The counterparts – digital vs. analogue – are not a random choice, for Greven analyses their socio-philosophical meaning beyond the sensory perception of these poles.
It is her inner concern – to counteract a contemporary loss of eroticism. Through painting, she creates a living surface that challenges the covetous gaze and leads the viewer through its graceful haptic back to his touch instinct. There is a sensual tension between the painting and the viewer rising up at this moment. The observer, invited to the voyeuristic gaze, is often surprised by the painting’s longing response, for its lively skin seems to utter: “I would like to be touched” and it can almost flirtingly revert the historical conventions of the active gaze to the painted passive body.
“I have the impression that we experience a sensuous loss. The digital face replaces the icon. Pornography replaces any eroticism.”
Aurel Scheibler (press release)