hamburg

Ernesto Tatafiore

Galerie Harald Behm

Ernesto Tatafiore’s figures greet us elegantly with head, not hat, in hand. For instance, there’s Louis XVI: he inclines charmingly toward an audience outside the drawing, which is sarcastically entitled Luigi I’ultimo (Louis the last, 1981). This title reminds us of the drama of the French Revolution, with its protagonists Danton and Robespierre and its victim Louis XVI, the latter a key theme in his work. The headless Louis XVI is an emblem for death, which, as a border crossing, signifies for Tatafiore first and foremost a threshold to the new, specifically the departure from absolute monarchy to the birth of a democracy shouldered by the bourgeoisie. On a more metaphoric level, the figure of Louis XVI stands for the effort, following intellectual work, to free oneself from the control of thehead—i.e., the superego—and penetrate the unconscious in painting.

Autoritratto eroico (Heroic

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