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De Deux

Alex Katz's Pas De Deux screenprint series, made between 1993-94 is a striking exploration of partnership and duality, presented through a collection of portraits. Each piece captures intimate moments between creative pairs, reflecting Katz's nuanced approach to portraiture and his adeptness at conveying complex interpersonal dynamics through his simplified, yet deeply expressive visual language.

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Meaning & Analysis

The Pas De Deux series by Alex Katz delves into the intricate dynamics of creative and personal partnerships, capturing the essence of each relationship through the artist's refined and emblematic style. The series title, a term borrowed from ballet that refers to a ballet dance duet, metaphorically frames the series' exploration of partnership, synergy, and mutual support. Katz's portrayal of each pair, set against stark or minimally detailed backgrounds, focuses the viewer's attention on the subjects' interconnectedness, their poses and expressions hinting at their individual personalities as well as their collective identity.

Katz's choice of subjects - couples who are often creative collaborators themselves - is suggestive of a dialogue not only between the figures within each portrait but also between their respective artistic practices. Katz's depiction of couples and their body language in this series demonstrates his interest in the spaces between people and how that can be used to trace the emotional and intellectual bonds that connect them.

The use of bold colour blocks, fluid lines, and thoughtful composition in the Pas De Deux series underscores Katz's mastery of form and his ability to distill complex human interactions into visually compelling narratives. Each work, while maintaining Katz's characteristic aesthetic of flat planes and reduced detail, conveys a sense of movement and depth, reflecting the dynamic nature of the relationships depicted.

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