Stephane Graff.

"Black Box"

10.05.2007 – 02.06.2007

The “Black Box” series consists mainly of photorealistic, monochrome oil paintings. They often depict large groups of people or individuals and are derived from found photographs.

The “Black Box” motif painted over the eyes of the subjects has been associated with both “the structures of minimalist nihilism” and censorship in the press. Graff also intended to reference black paintings such as those by Malevich and Reinhart.

The theme of concealment in Graff’s work can be traced back to his earlier “Constrictions”, as well as his “Mummification” series ; a body of work for which, according to Pieroni, the British Museum’s collection of ancient mummies and funerary relics provided an opportunity to “reflect on the complex relationship between concealment and the sacred”.

Among Graff’s more conceptual “Black Box” paintings are those of framed spaces.

In his painting of Freud’s office is a framed mirror which Graff filled with black paint. This mirror has been used to treat agoraphobic patients and has been interpreted as a space where projected fears and desires frequently manifested.

In the artwork “Louvre 1” (Mona), a crowd of people are gathered around the Mona Lisa, which has been replaced by a black canvas. The image of this black canvas is repeated on the display screens of the crowds’ digital cameras. Pieroni reads this photo as expressing “too many one-eyed spectators in front of a painting ; too much looking looking, not enough vision”.