Gabi Trinkaus -- girl's gotta have it
Given the premise that art and beauty are not intrinsic to one another, with the portrait collages on show in the Georg Kargl BOX Gabi Trinkaus presents a conclusive response to the trivialisation and commoditisation of good looks and an industry that turns out an over-abundance of sloganeered glamour. With the print media as her resource, Trinkaus produces a line-up of brutalised “mug shots” of faces, which could have been produced for a “before and after” documentation of the beauty industry. At first glance the portraits appear tranquil and serene, of almost photographic accuracy. Upon further inspection, one finds to have been seduced into the unsettled terrain of countless small ripped pieces of images of lifestyle magazines and becomes engulfed in the Atlas of the task at hand.
In the work process the artist uses pins to place the pieces of paper on the surface of the canvas. This gives the impression of a patient being lulled to sleep by acupuncture before the arrangement/derangement of his/her face is completed. Company logos of major players of the cosmetic business are incorporated into plain colour surfaces. The fine-print found amongst the sea of spliced imagery are the pores of the skin that are being graphed together. As they are attached at such a furious pace and with such a multitude of material in numerous layers a comparison with the insistence and impressive skills of a seamstress and the refined quality of Dr. Blade’s surgery suggests itself.
It is when one steps back from the picture that one is taken by the sense of scale in relation to one’s own head. In fact these portrait collages run close to two metres in height and require the contemplative stare of the viewer. This is how the work challenges us to rediscover the process of coming upon an image and to re-experience the confrontation with the image. By arranging/deranging faces from the inventory of an industry that produces Utopian photos of the “woman perfect” and creating portraits in an intricate and tedious patchwork style, Gabi Trinkaus generates a hybrid of classical portraiture and her own critical discourse revealing the vulnerability of such illusions.
Text: Alexander Viscio, artist, living and working in Vienna