Cupido 3, 2019

Miami Beach 2019
Stephen Friedman Gallery
Oil on panel
62.5 x 50.2 (cm)
24.6 x 19.8 (inch)
An enigmatic painting, ‘Cupido 3’ is part of a series of four works on panel by Mamma Andersson inspired by classical Roman sculptures of the god of love, Cupid. Characterised by an eerie sense of otherworldliness, ‘Cupido 3’ is rendered in a loose, expressive style and demonstrates the full range of Andersson’s painterly skill. Paying close attention to the materiality of the paint, Andersson uses a combination of dense brushstrokes and a muted palette of cream, black, green, brown and rusty orange. In certain areas, the canvas is visible, creating pools of light and texture in a way that relates to her recent experiments with woodcut print. Omitting the god’s usual attributes of wings and crossbow, Andersson strips Cupid of its mythological value to depict instead a ghostly apparition. Transforming a character associated with expressive ornamentation and racy plot twists, Andersson presents Cupid as a solitary figure in a state of inward contemplation. Andersson’s depiction challenges Cupid’s familiar iconography and infuses the work with deeper psychological meaning. By closely cropping the image, Andersson achieves a sense of unmediated intimacy. Rich with psychological intrigue, the painting embodies Andersson’s pursuit of a timeless artistic language where, as she explained, “everything is direct, spontaneous… not dressed up in the least.”