Raised Eyebrows / Furrowed Forehead : Knife (With Hands) | John Baldessari

Raised Eyebrows / Furrowed Forehead : Knife (With Hands) 2009 | Mixed technique 57,4 x 83,5 Inch

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Part of a series of nine works, Raised Eyebrows/Furrowed Foreheads continues John Baldessari's exploration of human identity, through the fragmented depiction of parts of the body. The artist uses faces taken from historical films, altering them to sever any possible contextual links. Their expressions suggest surprise or scepticism, fear or joy.

Photography and painting merge into one, creating a vivid and colourful dialogue in which reality is turned upside down and rebuilt as if it were a game, letting our imagination tell the story.

This near sculptural painting is taken from one of John Baldessari's most recent series of works. The conceptual artist and editor is fascinated by juxtaposition, constructing new meaning from reclaimed images. He uses a hybrid visual language and the relationship between the individual parts and the whole to multiply interpretations through changes, cuts, omissions and shifts in meaning.

Heavily influenced by Marcel Duchamp, John Baldessari is a key figure in dissenting thought against the art system, the art market and the mass media. A common theme in his work is that of irony, linked to an obsession with detail and the correct juxtaposition of the parts of the whole.

Here, the seductive gaze of a red-haired starlet is emphasised by the addition of embossed eyebrows, drawn in felt-tip pen, and a wrinkle on the forehead, together with an image of a knife, brandished in mid-air, which creates a somewhat Hitchcockian atmosphere.

Baldessari wants to invite the audience to reinterpret what is real by establishing  "a series of conditions that make things harder, but not impossible".