Carlos Martins (1946 - )

Homenagem a Anaïs Nin (1984)
Homage to Anaïs Nin

Lithograph on paper
height: 39.5cm
width: 35.5cm

Donated by Carlos Martins 1998


The idea of history, homage, recuperation and recovery is central to Martins' knowledge and use of traditional techniques, reflecting his view that history is not something lost in the past but that 'it is present in our memory, in our age'. In Homage to Anaïs Nin this view is extended to the iconic literary figure, whose words may be continually refreshed and recreated by contemporary reading. Martins' portrait of Nin, reduced to sharp contrasts of light and shade, recalls the silk-screening techniques of Pop production. However, running counter to its appearance, this work is produced using the intense labour and attention to detail of traditional engraving, a technique that becomes particularly evident in the finely etched lines of the foreground. The work repeats Martins' motif of destabilising the viewer's sense of scale. The portrait seems at first to be depicted as if on the wall of a gallery, yet propped next to it is a blank sheet of metal, ready for engraving: altering the scale to that of a still life with the picture tacked up on the artist's studio workbench. The image of the un-worked metal sheet acts as another reminder of the long process of inscription that has preceded this final print: the investment of time and labour that produces a true homage.

Isobel Whitelegg, 2008

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