Alex Flemming (1954 - )

Sorberba (1997)

Emulsion on garment
height: 77cm
width: 70cm

Donated by Charles Cosac and Siron Franco 1997


Alex Flemming has produced successive series of works of a type that he describes as 'Pinturas-Conceituais-sobre-Superfícies-não-Tradicionais' (Conceptual-Paintings-on-non-Traditional-Supports). This work is a pintura-sobre-roupa (painting-on-clothing) and one segment of a self-portrait project, which began soon after the artist moved permanently to Berlin and extended over a period of exactly ten years.

As a means of recording the experience of certain emotions, the artist subjected the item of clothing that he was wearing at the time to a series of processes, resulting in paintings-on-clothing such as this one, which has the title-date 23/1997. Each garment was trampled on and flattened before being soaked in acrylic pigment and ink and dried until solidly mummified. The works were made with the intention that they should be hung directly on the wall, pierced with nails as if crucified.

On the surface of each mummified, crucified garment the artist writes a noun: the name of the emotion that instigated the process of sacrificial preservation. Aided by the fierce monochrome of the painted surface such words will always remain of significance to the human condition, and in this way they replace the superficial sentiments usually worn on clothing in the form of brands and logos. Here the word is 'soberba,' which translates as arrogant pride.

Isobel Whitelegg, 2008

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