STILL PICTURES

Maria Wandel

One evening I began taking pictures of a film on the television. It was a film by Chabrol. I wasn’t really interested in the plot; rather I wanted to see if I could catch a single frame where the image and the subtitles worked well together. It seemed so suddenly obvious that I should paint these images. Images of states of mind. Images of people when they are vulnerable and we can almost see inside them. Read ourselves into the picture.  

This concept gathers together much of what I have made before. When I paint I often begin with photographs from films, which I alter and form to my own narrative, adding my own text. But now the film gives me a ”free” subtitle and I can choose the most suitable – for the picture or the one that expresses most in a visual context.

There are thousand of images to choose from in a single film. And almost as many subtitles.

But why a film? Films are a large part of my reality. I see them all the time. I wonder about the difference between life and film.

Films are often about dramas in life, just as I always try to create paintings that incorporate some of life’s dramas. Films deliver reality in all its diversity and every time we sit before the screen we are given a new way to understand our lives.

But a painting is something else than a film.

When I paint a single image from a film, adding a subtitle, then I am drawing not only on the mood and the plot but also on a cinematic image that we have all seen and can relate to. At the same time I am making a painting that has its own meaning and mood, which is not that of the film. Thus the title STILL PICTURES also means that the images are still pictures, nonetheless.

A painting stands still. For me the essence lies in the way that the text, language, brushstrokes or a person’s expression in the painting interrelate and take on significance.

If it succeeds and something is unlocked, an experience or a certain tone emerging that could not arise except through a painted still picture with a text, then it gives me, and hopefully others too, a kick.