VISIONARY REVUE

ANDROMEDA - Pierre Peyrolle

      Such a profound melancholy and modernity is also present in the next painting, which evokes the move from childhood to youth, when a young man must confront the feminine for the first time in his life.
      This step was allegorically portrayed in classical painting through the myth of Perseus and Andromeda. In the more heroic versions of this confrontation, the brave warrior Perseus defeats a sea monster and saves the virgin Andromeda, who is chained to rock near the sea. For, through this test of bravery and skill, the hero may carry off and marry his beautiful maiden.
      But in Peyrolle's modern re-telling of this classic myth, Andromeda is chained in the cheap decor of a Beverly Hills swimming pool, and her hero is a love-blind Oedipus:
      "I could have called this Hollywood scene 'Freud in Disneyland'. But, in fact, I was thinking of David Lynch's films when I decided to portray Andromeda as someone who would never be saved... (43)
      "Over all, it expresses an extreme despair. I was motivated by the relationship between Oedipus and a kind of feminine ideal. I gave Oedipus the mask of a deposed king who cries tears of blood - probably because the mystery of femininity remains an insurmountable obstacle for him...
(44)
      "Confronted by the woman he cannot have, this deplorable little Oedipus behaves almost sadistically. Meanwhile, the lightshow and twilight atmosphere offer a vulgar and idiotic



 
 
 


PARIS - FALL 2004

VENETIAN CELEBRATION - Pierre Peyrolle

serenade to the impotent hero deprived of his lance." (45)
      And so, in the case of this particular work, dormant Oedipal memories are evoked as we pass from childhood to youth, and our feminine ideals are tragically lost in a glitzy haze of Playboy bunnies and Hollywood starlets. Confronted by these enticing images charged with sexuality, the young hero is overwhelmed and eventually overcome: he impotently surrenders his manhood.
      From the foibles of youth, the artist passes into adulthood and maturity. In Pierre Peyrolle's case, this involved a move away from France and towards Italy, where he worked as a designer in the theatre, spending some seventeen years in all in Venice. In his large-scale work Venetian Celebration, he tries to capture the celebratory yet melancholy atmosphere of that city's haunting carnival with its masked celebrants and baroque scenery. Life is a play, waiting for the action to unfold.
      And indeed, this painting is like a play with some very telling scenography. The masked celebrants are gazing down at a Venetian canal. Hanging over one doorway is a red curtain which evokes the torn sail from Tramonto - Peyrolle's personal memory image for birth. But there is also a gondola in the water which may soon debarque for the island in the distance. That distant isle is the cemetary of San Michele, which initially inspired Böcklin to paint his masterpiece The Isle of the Dead. The unknown occupent of the gondola may either return in his memory to the birth-doorway, or approach the distant isle with its doorway unto death.

 
 
 


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