Almost An Optical Illusion

Paintings by Ellen Altfest

如果跟你說眼前的是一張照片,你相信嗎?那些毛毯的粗糙感與紋理、或者皮膚上的毛髮和毛孔,都一一讓我重新審視眼睛的可靠程度。然而,在 Ellen Altfest 以比例 1:1 描繪的作品中,每一幅作品都真實得令我起雞皮疙瘩。她的作品不論名字還是主題,都踏實、實在,大部分的題材都是日常生活中常見的景物:一根安靜的木頭、一堆色彩繽紛的南瓜、又或者是最親密的皮膚。他們在她的筆下被鉅細靡遺地呈現,當漂亮的和不太好看的部分同時被狠狠地紀錄下來,也就沒有說美或不美,而是赤裸地在畫作中活過來了。

有時候,觀看藝術工作者或藝術家的作品時,花了良久也找不到漣漪。而我一直確信,這與作者的技巧沒有直接的關係,而是作品和我們的連結不夠強大,簡單來說,沒有為我們帶來悸動 —— 打動不了我們。Ellen Altfest 的作品很純粹,她所刻劃的主題是那麼的日常,那麼的平凡,好一些主題更是那麼親切和熟悉,只要你平常有關顧生活,就可以與她的作品建立一種特殊的連結。當我注視眼前這塊屬於別人的皮膚超過五分鐘之後,才發現我從來沒有這樣凝視過自己的皮膚。


Ellen Altfest 個展《Green Spot》
時間:星期二至六 上午11時至晚上7時(開放予公眾參觀)

Would you be convinced if I said you were actually looking at a photograph? I began to doubt my eyes’ judgment as I was examining the coarse touch and refined pattern of the blankets, the pores of the skin and the tufts of hair depicted. Ellen Altfest paints objects in 1:1 scale in such minute and exquisite details that give me goosebumps over the extreme realism. Titled and themed with a blunt descriptiveness, her works depict cropped tranches of very familiar matter around us such as an ordinary piece of log, a bunch of colorful gourds, or intimate areas of skins. The marvel of the detailed description is impartial to what is beautiful and ugly. Such brutally honest documentation has liberated the objects from the stereotypical aesthetics and naturally breathes life into them.

Sometimes it takes time to find your resonance with an art series, but I always believe it has nothing to do with the artist’s techniques. Instead, what comes into play is the association between us and the artwork. Whether we can be moved by the piece is the crucial key. Ellen Altfest’s paintings are a celebration of mundanity. The deeply scrutinized details are so dearly rendered that the everyday objects around us suddenly appear so intimately familiar. You will instantly find a special connection if you do pay enough attention to small details in daily life. After I had gazed at this patch of skin belonging to someone else for over five minutes, I came to realize I have never gazed over my own skin in such manner at all.


Solo Exhibition of Ellen Altfest – Green Spot
Date: Until 16th March.
Address: White Cube, Hong Kong (50 Connaught Road Central Hong Kong)
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 7pm (Open for public)