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Pre-Modern self-Portrait



Juan Davila

Chile, Australia

06 Oct 1946 –

No image
  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    colour screenprint
    A/P [edition 30]
    124.0 x 80.0 cm
    Rudy Komon Memorial Fund 2006
    Not on display
    Accession number
    Unable to display image due to copyright restrictions
    Artist information
    Juan Davila

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Davila has depicted himself, or a stand-in for himself, as the central figure draped in patterned fabric, wearing a string of pearls or beads and with a hair ornament. This figure recalls Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits, some of the most well known images from Latin American art. Kahlo’s relentless examination of self as image and self-image as identity lead to a revived interest in her practice in the 1980s. The examination of visual identity that occurred in 1980s photographic art, for example in the work of Cindy-Sherman, made Kahlo’s paintings seem prescient.

    Tears drip from the central figure’s eyes. It is a melancholic image which suggests mourning, perhaps for failed revolutions or left-wing politics as a crossed hammer and sickle appear at the top of the border image and while on the right a fruiting and flowering vine appears, on the left the vine has withered and died. A smaller fat man has his arm around the main figure, perhaps comforting or perhaps dependent on the person. This fat man appears to be appropriated directly from the paintings of popular Colombian artist Fernando Botero. Behind the figures are a smoking industrial chimney and a draped flag with a star. Again, the failure of the utopian aspirations of left wing politics seems to permeate this work, made at a time when right wing politics seemed on the ascendant.

Other works by Juan Davila

See all 8 works