Sahara Longe, Stand A12, Frieze London, Regents Park
I’ve always liked the idea of a party scene. At parties you often observe strings of people set in distinct poses, some knotted together chatting, occasionally a figure or two who stand looking around, alone and apart. It reminds me of religious or historical paintings where people flock into groups, each up to something and related to one another in ways we don’t quite understand. I wanted to create scenes with a similar narrative intrigue, where one must guess at the story of each character, the dynamics between them, and what might lie beneath their social guise.
I like paintings in which you can share fleeting – but meaningful – moments. This year I thought a lot about Velasquez’s The Surrender of Breda (1634–5). The painting depicts a battlefield of soldiers, with Velasquez himself disguised as a warrior in the left-hand side of the painting. There is an amazing intensity you feel as his face stares out at you, his eyes full of almost evangelical fervour, like he wants to tell us something we will never know.
I hope those looking at these scenes might find details that likewise provoke thought: expressions or poses that reflect their own lives or memory, and with which they can share a passing moment.
Sahara Longe (b. 1994, London, UK) is a British artist who lives and works in London, UK. Vibrantly colored and often large in scale, Longe's portraits depict the mysteries of human psychology and social interactions. Figures in rich planes of scarlet, green and black colour stare back at the viewer with unreadable expressions, often deliberately flattened and soft-edged. Her work draws on the lost methods of Old Master painting as well as the emotional ambiguity and high colour of German Expressionism.
Selected shows include Young Artist Partnership, London, 2019; Heart of the Matter, Gillian Jason, London, 2021 and IRL (In Real Life), Timothy Taylor, London, 2021. In October 2021, Longe attended the Great Women Artists Residency at the Palazzo Monti. Longe's work is in several important collections in the UK and the USA including those of the National Art Gallery, London, UK; the York Gallery, UK; the Simon Nixon Collection, UK; and the Lisa Goodman and Josef Vascovitz Collection, US.
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