PLEASE DOUZE (LILACS BLANCS DANS UN VASE DE CRISTAL)
22 1/8 x 13 3/4 inches
If you find yourself in Austin in July-September def check out my mentor and all around amazing woman & friend Devon Dikeou's exhibition Please at AMOA-Arthouse
Please is an exhibition inspired by the last sixteen still lifes made by 19th-century modernist painter Edouard Manet at the end of his life. Painted while dying of syphilis, the flower paintings differ greatly in their subject matter as well as their humble sizes from Manet’s iconic portraits such as Olympia (1863) and The Bar at the Folies Bergere (1882). Often overlooked, these sixteen intimate paintings caused no scandals. For this project, Dikeou set out to meticulously recreate the flowers and vases depicted in the paintings, working extensively with glass blowers and florists to fabricate “sculptures” of the flowers in vases. She then photographed these bouquets and printed them to the exact dimensions of the original paintings. One of Dikeou’s artistic interventions comes in the form of uniformly selecting the background of her photographs and not matching them to Manet’s originals. On view in the exhibition are the sixteen photographs, ten exact replicas of the glass vases (though there are sixteen paintings, it appears that some vases make repeat appearances in Manet’s paintings), and jars filled with dried blooms from the bouquets. Deriving the title of her exhibition from an essay on Manet by art critic Peter Schjeldahl, Dikeou focused on the manner in which the author describes the painter as a man who simply wanted to please his viewers while simultaneously tackling subjects of wealth, remembrance, love, sex, death, and loss. Dikeou plays with the notion of pleasing her viewer as well, questioning the roles of the artist, collector, viewer, and perhaps most directly, the context of the work today.