Diversity in revisionist works of art received an innovative new interpretation at this year’s Art on Paper in New York City. Photographic duo E2 presented several works designed to challenge the mind – modern reinterpretations of old master paintings replaced with new subject representations of race, sexual orientation, gender and age. Upon first glance the viewer is presented with a well-known work of art with unknown subjects. Challenging stereotypes & preconceptions, each work obliges the visitor to re-examine their preconceptions of classic beauty in the framework setting of iconic art. Are the subjects still as beautiful (or more) than the original ? Do we accept the artists re-interpretation or dismiss it? Are we open minded enough to be able to appreciate a classic work of art, even if it doesn’t conform to fixed expectations? These are the questions one must consider not only when evaluating art but in our everyday lives. How free are our minds & can we truly live without prejudice? Or are we programmed to reject anything outside our comfort zone… It’s this kind of reaction that inspires great art. It challenges the mind, individual preconceptions and a greater sense of the world we inhabit.
The E2 duo – Kleinveld and Julien – have entitled their latest work as “In Empathy We Trust.” The collaboration started in 2010 when artist and phographer Elizabeth Kleinveld teamed up with artist Epaul Julien. Their collaboration inspired several revisionist Art History works by artists such as van Etc, Raphael, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Whistler and others. Describing their work fails to do it justice, the only way to fully appreciate it is to see it for oneself.