Veiling and unveiling
Robert Zahra: Should I cover, conceal, hide, paint over ? Should I veil or unveil? What options do I have? Where shall I start? These are questions which I’m constantly asking myself at the moment. As one of the artists working within the MILKSHAKE group of artists I am currently exploring the idea of gender, sexuality and the way I experience the body.
As yet I am interested in a number of ideas mainly focusing on the multiple layers which constitute a person and that is why I dug out old ‘rejected’ drawings and paintings of the human figure and I thought of recycling a few. The idea of recycling is particularly engaging both on an intellectual as well as a technical level. Though it is hard to put my finger on ‘the’ main idea behind these works I am getting more and more preoccupied with this idea of recycling – or rather renewing – the self.
I am very much aware that as a person I am a complex package of shifting values – am I negative or positive? Is this right or wrong? Not that I care for the moral implications behind this; what interests me is the challenge I can pose to normativity or, in painterly terms, how can I challenge the structure, solidity and specificity of traditional artworks.
This also compliments the ideas I got through the exchanges I had with my collaborator/subject who considers himself as a transgender person who strongly identifies with Madame du Barry, the famed mistress of Louis XV but as yet it’s too early to talk about this collaboration.