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Venus del iPhone

Venus del iPhone
Venus with an iPhone
Acrylic, oil, enamel and silkscreen on wood panel
146 x 194 cm


Ten key points to get to know the Venus with an iPhone:

1) The title: with it, the author makes a nod to a recurrent theme in the history of painting. The ‘Venus with Mirror’ are his references.

2) Scarlett Johansson is the Venus with an iPhone: the starting point for the painting is a photograph stolen from the phone of the American actress and model. By relating it with its precedents, we can appreciate a paradigm shift: contemporary goddesses do not come from the Olympus but from the covers of fashion magazines, the movies or… the internet.

3) The Venus of Rubens or Rauschenberg: the fragment of the ‘Venus in the Mirror’ depicted at the lower left of the work is taken from a painting by Peter Paul Rubens which, centuries later, Robert Rauschenberg would use in some of his silkscreen prints.

4) The Venus of Titian or Nono: the fragment of the ‘Venus in the Mirror’ depicted in the lower central part of the work is taken from the painting by Titian Vecellio which, for the occasion, was copied by the artist Nono Bandera. If we look closely, we can see his signature in the upper left-hand corner of the rectangle in which it is inscribed.

5) The arrangement in a continuous line: the images of the ‘Venus in the mirror’ are arranged in a continuous line. This could be interpreted as a metaphor for the discourse shared by art history and museum institutions, according to which history is conceived as a linear and evolutionary continuum. The original works by Rubens and Titian would be a clear example of this.

6) Copyright restrictions: along the same lines as the images of the ‘Venus in the mirror’, there is a rectangular figure on which a slogan can be read. This implies an ironic wink directed at the works reproduced, as they are all second-hand images. At the same time, it could also be interpreted as a metaphor for a postmodern principle: the discourse that hitherto understood history as a continuum has broken down. The works and artistic trajectories of Rauschenberg and Nono would be a clear example of this.

7) The TATE website: the structure in which all the works are inscribed belongs to the website of the Tate Modern, one of the most important contemporary art museums in the world. This structure lends certain credibility to the fiction posed in this meta-painting.

8) The visible traces: on the surface of the painting we can see different types of traces – from pencil lines to brush strokes and ink from tracing paper – which reveal the processes and techniques used by the artist during its production. These clues left for the viewer to see are evidence that, like all created images, historical and cultural discourses were also created by someone.

9) Aesthetics: the work has a digital aesthetic, and if the indices are not perceived – by viewing it from a certain distance, through a screen or printed on an image – this feeling will be accentuated. It would then look like an image made exclusively with machines.

10) Time for reflection: Venus with an iPhone’ offers a series of possibilities that websites cannot. These, through the accumulation and incessant bombardment of information, do not allow us to reflect on what we perceive. However, through a large painting which remains static and has an innumerable amount of details, it is possible to interact on a different level: the intellectual one. For this reason, although this work shows a different kind of paradox depending on the medium through which it is perceived, it is highly recommended to see it in person. Only by actively observing it in this way it is possible to understand the 10 points made and, perhaps, establish new ones to get to know the Venus with an iPhone better.