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Empty house

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Date Minted: August 6, 2020

Artist Description: When the leaves fall on the floors of an empty house, I will be in you. I have chosen to disintegrate and embrace the parts that I don't see but know are there. I have accepted the lust of an abandoned body, and climbed endless stairs that lead me to caves carved into my chest. I go back to the river that I spill once a month, at least.

Serie "The art of life" 01-

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

Empty House overwhelms us with fragments. Here is an ear without a face. Here are fingers without a hand to move them. Here are an assortment of words, as if we’re looking at a torn out piece of paper, but where’s the diary from which they came? Disembodied lips. A void in a face, an empty cavity where a nose should be. Empty House is a collection of incomplete things; things that don’t seem incomplete by nature, but like they were forced to be that way, ripped apart and far flung and kept separate by the internal forces within the composition. We feel almost as if we’re viewing a piece that is in the process of trying to pull itself back together —this would go there, that could slide right in here— but can’t quite get a grip on its many disparate parts: They slide around and fade away, elusive, popping up in different spots. Maybe that’s what contributes so heavily to the piece’s melancholic overtone, its air of exhaustion and pain. 

Because that feeling certainly doesn’t come through in the colors, which are on the brighter, lighter side. Regardless of their emotional charge, I still find the colors striking. These are skin-tone colors. Brown and peach and tan and black, and they are juxtaposed with long streaks or circles of monochrome black and white, as if we’re looking at two worlds: the colorful human world —the physical world— and some colorless internal realm, call it the spiritual, call it the mental, call it the emotional, but just something subterranean, untouched by visual nuances or physical sensation. All those different skin tone colors make it difficult to decipher how many different figures we’re looking at. The cubist composition keeps all the aspects of the piece fragmented, rearranged, turned around and angled oddly –—this piece displays a technical precision reminiscent of Picasso— and the color only adds to the confusion. Because here is what looks like a face, except one half of it is dark brown and the other whiter, lighter, with the bridge of the nose between them a stark off-white. A seeming hand reaches up the length of the image’s left side, though one extended finger is darker than the other, each of their joints encircled in their own microcosm of color, and the nails on all the fingers bedecked in a dark, eerie black. 

There is, certainly, a person in here. It seems, from all the detail here —the nails, the lips, the traditionally feminine imagery (plus a rather feminine-leaning artist description with mentions of menstruation and bodies)— to be a woman. A woman quite literally in pieces, both physically and, perhaps, in regards to her self-image. I cannot claim to know the inner-workings of artist Soulineart’s identity, but the composition here suggests a kind of dual consciousness; here is a figure with pieces of her that are black, pieces of her that are white, pieces of her that are colorful and expressive, others that have been ripped away, filled in with impersonal lines of color, the intrusion of an impersonal world into the figure’s body. 

I also want to call attention to the many eyes that appear in the piece. There are only three, but they’re altogether haunting. These, all three, have been stripped of their color, and have been composed as if they were bicycle wheels, with tiny pupils and spokes instead of irises, all staring straight ahead, as if they are watching something, as if they are watching something they can’t look away from. Like we, the observers, the eyes within the piece are transfixed. Is it us they watch? Is it us they interrogate with their endless gaze as we comb our eyes over the length of this piece, examining the fragmented woman from the safe confines of the world outside the piece? There this piece is, hurting, broken, and we deign to analyze it from afar. How dare we? The eyes don’t let us forget this. The eyes follow us wherever we go.

It does feel strange to critique or break into elements what strikes me as a deeply personal, deeply emotional piece. Seems almost missing the point to analyze its composition (but God damn, that composition is so brilliant, so masterful, I’m called to it). That melancholy I mentioned at the outset, I still don’t have a specific source identified for it. It erupts, fully-formed, from within the combination of everything discussed above, the beautiful and poetic Artist Description too, perhaps whatever associations I as an observer am subconsciously bringing in. But there’s real pain in this piece. There’s a real analogue to a universal human experience, the fragmentation into many parts. Could be a meditation on trauma. On identity. On memory. On femininity. All things that, when experienced or focused on, reveal themselves not as the whole they appear outwardly to be, but as schismed segments assembled for the sake of this or that event, this or that person, this or that interaction, this or that perception.

The communication of this idea is subtle. It’s smooth and it’s creeping, and comes about as a product of the unavoidable emotionality which is imbued in every line, every shape, every empty nose and open eye and outstretched finger in Empty House. And what a title. Empty House. A building constructed as a shelter, but when uninhabited becomes just a shell. Every empty house is a story, of people vanished, people left, people evicted, or those who never showed up in the first place. An empty house is a terrible thing, the product of an intention to house, an intention to dwell perhaps, but both things mucked up by fate. Devoid of people, what does it become? Drywall and floorboards…a roof, a garage, a front-door, some windows; a nose, two lips, an ear, a finger, three eyes that can’t blink. 


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