by Alexandra Osadkova17 June '18
Oil Painting depicting Muammar Gaddafi inglorious finale
Death is one of the keys in themes in the world culture. Since ancient times art was used to capture the images of people who are gone - in masks and portraits. From this point of view, art is the mediator between physical and metaphysical, it’s the way we can overcome our mortality. And the superstitious avoidance of the subject of death makes it specifically intriguing and repelling at the same time. Death is also a great ‘revealer,’ that exposes not only the role this or that person played during his/her lifetime but often makes the diagnosis to the society, considering its reaction to the passing of someone significant.
It’s difficult to think of more contradictory personage in contemporary history than Muammar Gaddafi - a Libyan revolutionary, who turned out to be an authoritarian dictator, a politician praised and condemned by millions.
Violence can never be constructive, thus Virtosu represents the theme through the creative strategy similar to the one Cubist painters used - the deconstruction of form. The syntax of the body is interrupted, as the artist sticks to the state of disarray. Unlike the Cubists, the author doesn’t apply rectangle shapes, preferring lurching wave-like forms, as if the substance has melted down and expanded over the surface. Curves are more natural for depicting flesh - the flesh that is becoming flatness without the support of life. Despite being still visible, it gradually starts merging with the surrounding shambles of the sweeping brush traces of exactly the same colors as the figures themselves. The equal intensity of the figures and the background loosens the force, which gravitates forms to each other.
The sense of the brutality
The savagery of Gaddafi ’s end occurs aestheticized and, at the same time, monumentalized. The historical fact is purified from the verbatim character of the media coverage, which ‘savored’ all details of the event on the photo- and video footage. The distorted features on the postmortems images are stylized to the extent when they are no longer a portrait, but the artistic attempt to process the sense of the brutality of what happened and indignation into the elaborated form.