Page 1

SacredPortraits Alexander de Cadenet


SacredPortraits Alexander de Cadenet


Self Portrait, 1998, Alexander de Cadenet


Origins Acoris Andipa | Director of Andipa Gallery Is commissioning one’s portrait an exercise in vanity or does it express a more significant meaning? The art of portraiture has been practiced since the beginning of civilization as a means to detail not only a subject’s physical characteristics, but also more importantly, the celebration of life and the challenges one has overcome. It also serves as a reminder of our inevitable passing. The merits of portraiture date back to Egyptian wall drawings of gods and pharaohs and reappear throughout history, for example in da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and more recently in works by Warhol including the iconic Marilyn Monroe. The constant attempt to capture a subject’s character and depth of being is a journey long travelled by artists in all mediums through the ages. Walk into a museum, government building, university library or private club in any part of the world and you will likely see fine portraits painted by great artists hanging on the walls. It is a tradition in almost every society to celebrate important people by commissioning an artist to paint their portrait. In ancient Greece, it was believed that the earthly man, through the form of art, was elevated to a higher status. Even when the subject was a child, family member or hired model, the portraits were often considered to be among the most important works the artist has created. Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of Mona Lisa is a portrait of an unknown woman made infamous. Michelangelo’s sculpture of David is a portrait of a young model immortalized in marble. Individuals, families and institutions have long considered portraits to be symbols of honor, tradition and history. What Alexander de Cadenet so eloquently offers us through his art is arguably the most objective form of portraiture. His honest and philosophical extraction of our true selves through the means of skull portraiture has its roots embedded in the history of art, philosophy and religion. Once considered purely a depiction of the subject’s appearance and personality as interpreted by the artist, here, de Cadenet’s portraits now delve far deeper. His work encapsulates the very essence of our being: the unique yet almost timeless structure of our life, the very inners that unconditionally portray our true selves without the need of cosmetic layers of flesh and skin, let alone makeup and clothing. Many artists through the ages have probed, examined and executed artworks in every guise imaginable to capture what life is about and yet, we always seem to return to the mortal questions of why are we here, what is our purpose and what do we leave behind for future generations.


The skull has been an object that has fascinated artists and chroniclers through the medium of art from their beginning. It is the one human object that can symbolize both life and death (past, present and future) and polarize our thoughts and emotions between fear and inspiration. Its meaning and symbolism conjure many interesting areas and historical contexts. It is unique in its ability to visually stimulate us into deep thought about life, time and love. The mediaeval Latin theory and practice of reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits, was referred to as ‘Memento Mori’ (which translates literally to ‘remember that you will have to die’). This theme is revisited extensively in important works such as Hans Holbein the Younger’s The Ambassadors, 1533. An important part of numerous disciplines and religions, the skull has been a catalyst for perfecting character, cultivating virtues, and turning our attention towards the immortality of the soul. We see this most fervently in the monotheistic faiths of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism. In Christianity, the strong emphasis on divine judgment, heaven and hell and the salvation of the soul can be seen in works like Portrait of Josina Hamels, 1580, by Hendrick Golzius. Also in Islam, especially the mystics of the Sufis, where the remembrance of death has been a major topic with recurring injunctions to pay heed to the fate of previous generations. Similarly, in Tibetan Buddhism there is the famous ‘Book of the Dead’ and in Zen Buddhism the contemplation of death as a passing over to the continuance of a next life is meditated upon daily. For me, Alexander’s work encompasses two burning questions: what of the afterlife and are we fully embracing this life to its fullest? To have a skull portrait of oneself makes me ponder these two questions deeply. The beauty of our experiences during our lifetime, that include our approach to challenges and our victories over them, are somehow encapsulated within the timelessness of his skull portraits. They are no longer of traditional flesh and blood as we expect but a portal of great depth to a place where we consider our own mortality, ethics and conduct, and perhaps how some part lives on through art. They represent a place to consider our relationship with ourselves, others, material objects and love. By love, I refer to it in all its forms: family, partnership, life and our belief systems. It also reminds me of the Danse Macabre in the 15th and 16th centuries, which explored the simple fact that everyone dies and therefore everyone is united. But finally, de Cadenet’s skull portraits beg the bigger question of the existence of the soul.

Portrait of Josina Hamels, 1580, Hendrick Golzius

The Ambassardors, 1533, Hans Holbein the Younger


Skull Portraits De Cadenet has been creating skull portraits since 1995, and has since been evolving successive series and formats of a variety of subjects including celebrity icons and historical figures such as Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, Hitler and Pharaoh Tutankhamun. In addition to his selected subjects, de Cadenet has also completed numerous private commissions for international collectors. Drawing inspiration from ancient symbolism and Vanitas, and the transcendence of earthly pursuits, de Cadenet challenges our idea of selfidentity by forcing us to look beyond the guise of flesh, to the very inners of our true form. His first skull portrait, created 20 years ago, was a cut-out x-ray of himself which he suspended between two pieces of Perspex. Entitled Self-Portrait, the format and implications of this work was well before its time, pre-dating other works emerging in the 2000s by contemporaries including Nick Veasey and Damien Hirst. In 1999, his studies and exploration of skull portraits led him to Masai Mara, in Kenya, where he completed his installation work Erection of the Masai Golgotha. He has since created five unique series, each exploring a different dimension of representation and symbolic meaning. By contrasting the stark imagery of the skull with the idea of the self, de Cadenet succeeds in creating the ‘anti-portrait’, which references the iconic aesthetic of Pop Art while also suggesting a deeper spiritual contemplation of mortality. De Cadenet’s portraits incorporate various elements such as props that reflect the character and presence of the subject while also adding layers of additional meaning. The skull portrait is a timeless representation of a subject that allows the viewer to experience the work both objectively and subjectively. Each skull portrait has its own story to tell. Over the past nineteen years, the complete collection of skull portraits can also be seen as a record of the artist’s creative journey and the significant subjects he has encountered and engaged with along the way. Erection of the Masai Golgotha Installation, 1999, Masai Mara, Kenya


Private Commissions As part of this exhibition, the artist will be accepting orders for private commissions allowing clients the opportunity to work closely with him to create a unique photographic skull portrait. During the creation process the client plays a prominent role and becomes a physical part of the artwork’s creation in the form of a radiograph. This is a forensic record of the subject that captures his/her unique likeness in a format that breaks the mould of traditional portraiture. The fact that a subject must give a physical piece of himself or herself to create the work speaks to the authenticity and intimacy of the creation process and also gives the work a greater value and meaning to the subject involved. Recently, de Cadenet has been exploring different ways the skull portrait allows the subject to express his/her individuality. One of these ways is through the use of personal items such as jewellery, clothing and other personal artefacts. Clients have also interacted with each other in family and couple portraits adding an element of storytelling to the work. To commission a skull portrait by de Cadenet is to capture your true essence beyond the physical realm in a timeless piece that grows with you and will remain relevant for future generations to enjoy. De Cadenet’s work has been widely exhibited and is part of numerous international private collections including a portrait produced for the Gucci family. Additional clients include royalty and notable individuals, couples, and families in fashion, industry, banking and the arts.


Patricia Gucci Family Portrait, 2010, Alexander de Cadenet


The Lady, 2008, Alexander de Cadenet


From The Artist‌ I see my work in the tradition of the most ancient Palaeolithic art, which is the longest lasting evidence of the existence of human culture. For thousands of years art held almost exclusively an essential, sacred and deeply significant meaning for those that practiced its creation and those who experienced it. My artwork is a sharing of what I have found most inspiring, essential and valuable about life. The artworks are often a mix of profound wonderment with the humorous or satiric. They are intended to work on different levels, both in the immediate moment and in the longer term over a period of time. Ultimately they question what gives our lives meaning and celebrates the fact of our existence. Alexander de Cadenet


The Alchemist II, 2015 Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 3, Signed 100 x 150 cm (39,4 x 59 in) Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 7, Signed 20 x 30 cm (7,9 x 11,8 in)


The Star, 2015 Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 3, Signed 150 x 130 cm (59 x 51,2 in) Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 7, Signed 30 x 20 cm (11,8 x 7,9 in)


The Pharaoh, 2015 Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 3, Signed 100 x 150 cm (39,4 x 59 in) Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 7, Signed 20 x 30 cm (7,9 x 11,8 in)


The Dictator, 2015 Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 3, Signed 150 x 120 cm (59 x 47,2 in) Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 7, Signed 30 x 20 cm (11,8 x 7,9 in)


The Trophy (Pink), 2015 Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 3, Signed 100 x 150 cm (39,4 x 59 in) Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 7, Signed 20 x 30 cm (7,9 x 11,8 in)


The Genius, 2015 Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 3, Signed 150 x 120 cm (59 x 47,2 in) Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 7, Signed 30 x 20 cm (11,8 x 7,9 in)


The Smoker, 2015 Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 2, Signed 100 x 150 cm (39,4 x 59 in) Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 7, Signed 20 x 30 cm (7,9 x 11,8 in)


The Collector (Violet), 2015 Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 3, Signed 120 x 95 cm (47,2 x 37,4 in) Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 7, Signed 30 x 20 cm (11,8 x 7,9 in)


The Artist (Magenta), 2015 Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 3, Signed 80 x 140 cm (31,5 x 55,1 in) Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 7, Signed 20 x 30 cm (7,9 x 11,8 in)


The Candle that Burns Twice as Bright‌, 2011 Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 2, Signed 200 x 75 cm (78,7 x 29,5 in) Photographic print on aluminium Edition of 7, Signed 20 x 30 cm (7,9 x 11,8 in)


Andipa Gallery offers a number of specialised services including: Art Fund programme, private sales, appraisals, auction bidding, restoration, framing, hanging and shipping. Please contact the gallery for further details. Our inventory constantly changes, please contact the Gallery for additional works. Exhibition dates: 23 June – 14 July 2015 All art works are for sale. Please note artist proofs are produced for each edition as follows: Edition of 3: 1 artist proof Edition of 7: 2 artist proofs Please note artist proofs are not presently for sale.

The Andipa Gallery Ltd 162 Walton Street London SW3 2JL England T +44 (0)20 7589 2371 art@andipa.com www.andipa.com

Acknowledgements: Alexander de Cadenet Origins by Acoris Andipa Design by Adrian Franks, Creative Wisdom Ltd

This catalogue is for the advertisement of sale of artistic work only. All art works are the property of Alexander de Cadenet and The Andipa Gallery Ltd at the time of going to press. All works are for sale.


162 WALTON STREET

KNIGHTSBRIDGE

WWW.ANDIPA.COM

LONDON

SW3 2JL

ART@ANDIPA.COM

T +44 (0)20 7589 2371

Profile for The Andipa Gallery

SACRED PORTRAITS Alexander de Cadenet  

New contemporary skull portraits by London artist de Cadenet featuring real-life x-rays of celebrity and historical figures including Marily...

SACRED PORTRAITS Alexander de Cadenet  

New contemporary skull portraits by London artist de Cadenet featuring real-life x-rays of celebrity and historical figures including Marily...

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded