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Signed Print Edition of 60
H 94cm x W 70cm
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Joe Syer, Head of Urban & Contemporary Art
Transformer (2016) is a signed screen print representing the complex ways in which Conor Harrington’s art interrogates cultural stereotypes and contemporary images of masculinity. The work depicts a male figure with a Venetian mask, a motif that holds a consistent presence in the Irish artist’s prints from 2016 onwards. Similarly to Hide and Seek (2016), Grab Your Guise (2016), and Study For Hide & Seek (2018), the man in this print dominates the image as he appears by himself against a colourful background composed from patches of yellow and olive green paint.
Dressed in a red frock coat, a middle-aged man is seen looking worriedly at the mask in his hands. While vivid lines on his forehead and frowned eyebrows reveal the emotion of distress, an unexpected patch of paint between the eyes and the mouth makes it difficult for the viewer to fully scrutinise the man’s face. The depicted scene might take place after the performance, in which case the actor’s dramatic look at the Venetian mask symbolises a moment of reflecting upon his craft. Considering Harrington’s interest in cultural stereotypes, the representation also leans towards a moment of self-reflection, one in which the subject ponders the blurred line between life and performance.