Stephanie Corne turns the body into a canvas to create awareness about disorders like vitiligo.
HOW do you best capture an emotion for posterity—with a photograph or a painting? For France-born and New York-based visual artist Stephanie Corne, both mediums are key to making sense of the world.
Corne’s solo show at Kalinka Gallery, Beyond the Skin, features compelling and painstakingly constructed portraits from her three-year-old project, Facemotions. Each portrait is a photograph of a person captured with expressions, either raw or sublime, against a backdrop of an abstract painting. “Corne sees the inner emotions of her models in a swirl of colours and paints on their skin to enhance the sentiment, making the face and body a live canvas,” says gallery owner Karine Pelade, curator of the exhibition.
Painting on the skin comes naturally to Corne. Recalling celebratory traditions, she says, “I look at it as my interpretation of a 21st century ritual where I represent what is going on right here, right now.” Riveting amongst these are paintings on the skin of persons with vitiligo and albinism, portraying stoic acceptance, surrender or defiance.
Then there is the camouflaged soldier fading into the background, the radiating serenity of an incandescent Madonnaesque figure, the strangled outcry of a woman finding voice, and the haunting confrontational gaze of a girl’s upturned face. But perhaps the most politically relevant (considering the current outrage against police killings), is Unarmed and Dead, featuring a black bare chested man with eyes tightly shut and face contorted in pain, as splotches of paint on his torso evoke bullet wounds. There’s also Irises, an ensemble of paintings which depict how celebrated artists and thinkers see the world through an image of an iris.
Till August 21, from 10 am to 8 pm. Details: 0413 2336976
—Olympia Shilpa Gerald