Cindy Wright: Eye to Eye (Edition of 300 signed & numbered copies)
Femke Vandenbosch (Text)
Stockmans Art Books, 2020
Publication for the exhibition at Museum Hof van Busleyden, Mechelen. Cindy Wright (°1972) is a Belgian visual artist. Her works consist of photorealistic paintings and drawings, often in monumental formats.
Eleven monumental, velvety apparitions float weightlessly in the deepest shade of black. Motionless and illuminating, they occupy the sea of space Cindy Wright created for them in the magnificent installation Eye To Eye (2020). Proudly and defiantly, the figures look us right in the eyes. They are staring at us. Once eyes, now there are only gaping holes. These arresting charcoal drawings depict human skulls. Wright presents us with our own mortality, fringed with a white border, like a memorial card. Nevertheless, death is her greatest fear. “The death of my loved ones, the idea of my own death and how it would affect them.” Standing eye to eye with our transience takes courage. Wright manages her fear as a key concept in her oeuvre. Mark Twain expressed this concept of courage born out of resistance as The mastery of fear.
Wright’s studio illustrates this mastery. Her collection of dead animals and insects reads like a macabre Wunderkammer and forms the basic material for her search for images to represent the fragility and vulnerability of life with the greatest intensity. It took the artist ten years to collect the desired number of skulls for Eye To Eye (2020). She became fascinated by their origins and the way society interacts with human bones, evolving through time and culture. For Wright, her collection of skulls is something very natural.
The ten individual drawings were digitally combined by the artist to produce a new image: Unification (2020). In it, the individual portraits merge to one universal skull. In its abstraction, the skull can become gratuitous and lose its confrontational value, which is important to the artist. Wright incorporates the field of tension between two display methods in the final drawing, in which the entire installation, and if you like, humanity, is contained. This skull transcends personal reflection and has the capacity to symbolise a complete species: mankind. The world goes on even after our death.