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Hillel Kagan
About this artwork
Oil on Canvas
h.122cm w.122cm d.0cm
Jul 2011

Hillel's Description: Figures interacting.

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2011-11-12 13:32

Figures interacting? Now what kind of description is that. These bold works are loaded with sex, desire, intimacy, openness, and sharing between two people. I'd expect such paintings to be small, inviting the viewer, almost embarrassed by having stepped into the room with the naked couple. Instead they're big and brash, daring, and challenging the notion of what goes on behind closed doors is essentially private - to be alluded to, never to be confronted directly.
Despite his defiance, Kagan's use of paint is of the utmost delicacy. There doesn't appear to be a build up of layer over layer of paint, but rather an elegant stroke of carefully mixed colour will suffice in preparing the scene. And what colours! Tropical blues and limes surround the fleshy pinks and purples in a crumpled sea of exhaustion.
This series will make one interesting exhibition. If there's any liklihood of a show coming up Kagan, please don't call it Figures Interacting!

2011-11-13 03:45

He he, I like the title “people interacting“. You could as well have only called it „people“. What’s in it everyone can see and you, J-P, described your impression with passion. So why listing all impressions in a title?
I really love to look at this piece and its seducing colours, its sunday morning atmosphere and its theme. So again Hilled confounds me with showing how to paint something highly erotic by using bodies. Someone or something must have watered his pot! So I am very happy about this painting!

2011-11-14 00:56

Thanks for your comment JP and it's an interesting one. I'm sure I've said this before but I really don't care what the impetus is for what an artist does. For me the motif is merely a pretext for holding a particular artist's interest in their process of creating pure visual experience. Painting is an activity that is at its essence abstract in nature. Why an image or picture works, or is of continued enigmatic interest is a mystery. I understand the need non-artists have to interpret and understand works of art beyond the formal concerns of artists themselves who generally look at works with a completely different set of criteria.

For instance the foot in in the lower right hand corner of this painting is completely wrong. It is a right foot as opposed to logically being a left foot which it originally was. Pictorially it felt wrong and I reversed it even though it makes no sense. Yet like Cezanne's wrong perspective and the apples that should roll off the table top, Freud's sometimes inexplicable bodily proportions or Michelangelo's David with its oversized head and hands for example. It's that very wrongness that for me becomes the artwork's most interesting component. (Not that I put myself in the same league as the aforementioned artists.)

The subject here is actually and simply figures (actually parts of human figures) interacting. Not necessarily male and/ or female for that matter and in this specific case my references for all the forms were female. There are no hidden meanings or reasons and I wasn't trying to make a statement about gender politics or trying to tell a story of any kind whatsoever beyond creating a convincing illusory space with some kind of dramatic action taking place. Hanjo's comment rings true and I'm pleased that he seems to like the painting or at least the photographic image of it

For lack of anything better to say and not out of laziness or lack of intellectual rigour, "figures interacting" seems the most apt description. And though, as someone who has formerly worked in the world of advertising, I agree with you that from a marketing standpoint, it's not the wisest way to depict or promote a work. But then again, who gives a shit. I've long since given up on either showing or selling.

2011-11-18 01:38

given what I imagine they have been doing, it makes perfect sense for the right foot to be there.


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