Twin Peaks and Company
Bernard Piffaretti's paintings each begin with the artist establishing a clear separation between left and right, then creating an abstract composition of gestural marks on one side, and re-creating the image opposite, on the other side of the vertical "central mark". While Piffaretti is interested in the process of mirroring, he is not concerned with producing an ideal, symmetrical image, instead purposely painting an inexact, doubled image that instantly challenges our perception and forces us to question what we are seeing. Our minds actively try to decode the puzzle of Piffaretti’s chosen variations, highlighting our inherent psychological and emotional response to this technique.
The title of his currecnt show at Lisson Gallery Shanghai, 'Twin Peaks and Company', was selected by Piffaretti as a tribute to two filmmakers: David Lynch and Orson Welles as, he says, “a kind of twin legacy”. Twin Peaks, directed by David Lynch, was the famed American horror drama which originally aired in 1990 before returning as a limited series in 2017. Piffaretti, like Lynch, came to prominence in the 1980s, alongside the development of the “high concept” era in cinematic style and the continuation of the filmmaker-driven format. The latter part of the title, and Company, refers to Lynch's forerunner, Orson Welles, who greatly influenced Lynch in his formal approach to directing and its psychological effects. In particular, Piffaretti notes the film, ‘The Lady from Shanghai’ (1947) which Lynch has discussed as a major influence on his work. The finale of this film features a unique climactic shoot-out in the Magic Mirror Maze, a hall of mirrors comprising a multitude of real and false images, where each face is repeated and mirrored numerous times.
Piffaretti’s own exploration of visual language is mirrored in the work of Lynch and Welles, and indeed Piffaretti has noted “I practice painting like one would a ‘moving picture’, I see it as a ‘moving situation’”, as is often seen in the artist’s work. The artists all adopt distortion in their work, mystery, reflections, and a deconstruction of images to push the boundaries of their medium and illustrate the psychological effects of their methods.
'Twin Peaks and Company' continues through 29 May 2021.