Three hundred and fifteen

Shanti (Blue Flannel)

2012 by Raffi Kalenderian
Galerie Peter Kilchmann

Frieze London 2012 was once again an assault on the eyes, fuelled by a brilliant clinical light. Drifting up and down the aisles of its cubic map, one is overwhelmed by the amount of art. Collectively the offerings always surprise in the sheer quantity of artists determined to be seen, though inevitably only some succeed in being remembered. Kalenderian’s Shanti, part of the exhibition Interior Life, is happily diverting in its difference to some of his previous pieces. While his portraits often have lively backgrounds – an impossibly moody sky, rolling hills, the atmosphere of an interior – this work ignores any background, instead concentrating on the imagined energy from the two protagonists of the image. The two sombre faces, pale and thickly white, are surrounded by electrified shapes of colour. They dart wildly, diverting the eye in every direction; they are gleeful, in their juxtaposition of the countenance of the figures they stem from. Indeed, their manic movement seems to eventually draw our eye back to the two boys, directed by the larger arrow-like red triangle. The agitation of the shapes lead us to suppose there is much hidden behind these quiet faces that betray nothing with their fixed gaze. Their deathly pallor with deeply red lips has a haunting quality, carried by the symmetry of the dropped abstracted hands. The contrast of silent stillness with coloured energy is a fraught one, leading us to ponder the origin of such a burst of what lies within.

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