he 14 paintings selected for the exhibition, painted between 2008 and 2010, depict female faces painted in a Iper-realistic way, and given names like Jacklyn, Jewel, Ramona, Summer, Natasha and Venus. The sharpness of detail by contrast accentuates an equally strong impression of vagueness: the faces are framed in such a way as to exclude their bodies, and it is impossible to say whether the young women depicted are real people or idealised models from the fashion world.
Names, poses, colours and details immediately identify the protagonists of these paintings as “belonging wholly to the early years of the 2000s”, as Walter Guadagnini notes in the catalogue text. Yet, as Guadagnini discerns, while it is easy to grasp a direct link between Landau and photographic realism (American Iper-realism), it should also be noted that these canvases seem to have no relationship with contemporary photography.
The work of Sara Landau should be seen not only in terms of Iper-realism, however, but also as regards a problematic relationship with the Pop Art of Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann, and the more closely related results of the work of Alex Katz, which can be compared for the contrast between the apparent simplicity and the actual indefinability of the final result. However, unlike Pop Art, Landau's research is aimed at the revelation of an artificial and contrived beauty, in fierce competition with time and the flow of life. Her merciless investigation is that of a woman within the experience of women, with her mental processes and aspirations laid bare. Painting, for Landau, is claimed as a tool able to deal with the means of reproduction and reconstruction, whether digital or surgical operation.
Curated by Walter Guadagnini