Xeuxian Fragment # 4 – 1996
Oil on board. 45 x 60 cm
Xeuxis was according to ancient Greek mythology the first painter. He was commissioned to paint the perfect woman and sent to the local village for all the young women to assemble before him as potential models. The story relates how he decided to take what he perceived to be the perfect elements from different woman to make up a composite of the perfect woman.
The common availability of cropped photographic imagery in the nineteenth and twentieth century afforded a similar [re]focusing on the fragment of the human body and this was freely adopted by artists like Gericault, Courbet and Degas etcetera. The fragment as a symbol for modernity itself is compellingly asserted in Linda Nochlin’s The body in Pieces, wherein she poses the question, “what of that sense of social, psychological, even metaphysical fragmentation that so seems to mark modern experience – a loss of wholeness, a shattering of connection, a destruction or disintegration of permanent value that is so universally felt in the nineteenth [and twentieth] century as to be often identified with modernity itself”. * How very apt a description of contemporary postmodern dysfunction.
*Linda Nochlin –The body in pieces – The fragment as a metaphor for modernity. Thames & Hudson. 1994. P23