Foxy Production presents SASCHA BRAUNIG’s debut New York solo exhibition. In a series of spectral oil paintings, Braunig reimagines the studio portrait. With saturated colors and an hypnotic style, the works reflect upon illusion and surface.
In dream-like scenes where repetition and patterning are foregrounded, Braunig’s models emit an extrasensory glow. Flaring with reflected color, they are iridescent beings whose very skin seems to be a source of psychic power.
Braunig produces uncanny atmospheres, where costume, make-up, and décor fragment and engulf the body. In these hallucinatory visions, the subjects’ markers of individuality – their faces, gender, even bodies – are masked, overshadowed or absent. The works’ dramatic lighting animates their statue-like subjects, giving a sense of both strength and fragility.
In Goldwarp, an illuminated mask’s marble-like eyes hint of a semblance of life within. Carapace’s green tones combine a geometric background with an angular metallic form that could be covering a head or a whole body, and whose red lacing – holding closed its only opening – appears like fierce, sensual teeth. And in Chameleon, golden discs swarm upon a painted figure and a dark curtain, distorting the space in a wave of reflection.
Braunig’s work recalls at times George Condo’s mining of the history of portraiture, but where Condo often channels Picasso, Braunig’s precursor may be Magritte, with his sharp representational style and his mysterious juxtapositions. Her paintings also evoke the spirit of performance artist Leigh Bowery whose startling costuming often encased his body. Like Bowery’s “looks”, Braunig’s baroque armors enigmatically reveal a dark yet playful wit within.
Installation photography by Mark Woods.