Stefano Castronovo

Patrick Fox Gallery

Part one of this show was a room full of Mona Lisas, eight of them titled “Devoid 1–8.” Some are medium shots, some are close-ups, some are extreme close-ups. In some of the pictures Mona Lisa is partially obscured, as in the first one, in which her face is half covered with the gold squares that also form a background. In others the image is eroded; in Devoid 8, for example, the face is peeled away with only clues remaining. The image is recognizable only from its context.

“Devoid” could be translated to mean “from the void,” and these are images from the void of art history, from Leonardo to Duchamp to now. The Mona Lisa has become a void, a vacuum whose only content is what is sucked from the beholder. Jean-Michel Basquiat drew Mona as the face on money, and she is as invisible as George Washington; but her invisibility also makes her a perfect ghost, and in Stefano Castronovo’s paintings

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 1985 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.