Oil on Panel
This painting reproduces the bottom left corner of Raphael's Transfiguration, depicting St. Matthew. The figure is seated, clasping a book in one hand and gesturing to the viewer in the other. He is dressed in vibrant blue and yellow robes. The painting is faithful to the original in every respect other than the inclusion of what appears as cellophane wrapping, painted over the surface of the image. This has brought jarring white lines and other alterations in tone to the painting. Some of the highlights of the cellophane are painted as hard-edged, white streaks, whilst others blend back into the original image, confusing the distinction between the layers. The white contrasts against the predominantly dark background of the original painting.
This painting has intentionally not been photographed, and so appears in digital format as a textual description. The reason behind this decision was a means of resistance against the commodification and spectacularisation of contemporary painting. The visual culture of late-capitalism is that of the Integrated Spectacle; 'a social relation between people that is mediated by images'.1 Fast-paced, spectacular digital imagery is continuously produced, disseminated and consumed, reflecting the capitalist model of perpetual and exponential growth. Painting is by nature both slow to produce and engage with, and therefore opposes the dominant visual culture. It is a refusal to submit.2 To convert a painting into a digital image is to recuperate it into the spectacle, and pacify its subversive potential.3
The subject matter of this series draws heavily upon the spiritually dependant development of aesthetics and so is isolated from the disenchanted nature of capitalist culture. Therefore, the decision to not photograph the works is an attempt to forgo a process of mundanity and retain an auratic mode of transcendence.4 Following these lines of thought, it is possible to determine the necessity of not digitally replicating the painting.
1.Guy Debord. The Society of the Spectacle. 1st ed. (New York: Zone Books. 1994). 4.
2.Adorno, Theodor W, Gretel Adorno, Rolf Tiedemann, and Robert Hullot-Kentor. Aesthetic Theory. (London: Continuum, 2002). 8.
3.Herbert Marcuse. One-dimensional man. (Boston: Beacon Press. 1964). 60.
4.Benjamin, Walter, and J. A Underwood. The Work Of Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction. (London: Penguin, 2008). 5.