Women, Masks

Martial Raysse’s gallery of female portraits has become iconic in work: Brigitte Bardot screen-printed in contrasting colours, Anne Wazamesky looking like the Mona Lisa and female models from the artist’s circle with the features of Ingres’s Odalisque or Ghirlandaio’s Giovanna Tornabuoni. From his Made in Japan series (1964) to large painted compositions like Dieu Merci (2004), Raysse puts the traditional genre of portraiture through a kitsch filter, giving faces borrowed from the world of cinema and art history an artificial character. Pin-ups and theatre heroines dressed in costumes, disguised in thick make-up or behind a mask, and with beauty accessories are like provocative and enigmatic sphinxes. Not only do they reflect on the forms of disguise, the women are like incisive and secret Vanitas image, on the edge of Eros and Thanatos. [UNCLEAR] Ordinary, anonymous people are risen to the level of stars or mythologial figures, like modern-day Dianas and Venuses.