Roman Trumpe loeil
"Paula Gillen's photographic series Roman Trumpe –l’oeil is a profound take on what it means to be a subject in an empire, a viewer of figures who dominate us, but who will also become historical subjects." - Richard Sober 2017
If members of the Trump Administration went to sleep and woke up the next day as Romans, they might look in the mirror and see themselves reflected in my hybrid images. This series consists of contemporary political individuals merged with Roman portraits, damaged and aged, made of sculpted marble. These new portraits are not purely photos or sculpture, but a surreal mix. Oddly the humanism and gravity of the Roman portraits are transferred onto the current political ruling class.
Full of hubris and ego, Trump and others are now part of our shared cultural history. Regardless of politics and anxiety over this administration, like powerful Roman rulers now gone, Trump too will pass, into the past.
"Our contemporarty motives are just as mysterious and self-defeating as the past's. We are contiguous with everything that is gone. We are history. This moment is already over." New Sentences by Sam Anderson, NYTimes Magazine. 11.11.18
Roman Trumpe-l'œil imagery is based on a 1945 book - “Roman Portraits - Phaidon Edition,” that features1st to 3rd century Roman sculptures photographed by J. Schneider-Lengyel. Lengyel’s tightly cropped images of Roman heads bring the sculpture into an intimate viewing space. His use of chiaroscuro lighting captures the dimensionality and naturalism of these Roman sculptures. The bookplates are richly printed photogravures and beautiful to behold. My images are alll vertical 11 x 14 inches aluminum matte surface floating images with a bracket in back. Also, I am planning to compete 52 portraits which will be made into a deck of cards.
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. - Marcus Annaeus Seneca (54 BC – 39 AD)