We are proud that Zlatan Vehabović is featured in the group exhibition that investigates the ‘Self’ through new paintings by five international contemporary artists. From the Early Renaissance by Jan Van Eyck to some of the leading artists such as Rembrandt, Velazquez, Van Gogh, Schiele and Kahlo, the self-portrait at its best is revelatory capturing the artist’s image and soul on canvas. Unlike Narcissus who died fixated at the beauty of his own reflection, the intent of Self-Portraiture is to traverse superficialities and provide a critical insight of the sitter’s identity. In obedience to the Socratic statement 'Know Thyself', the artist, while looking in the mirror to reproduce his physical appearance, is in fact giving the world a visual autobiographical story; an honest documentation of his period, environment and culture. In the works included in this show, a “likeness of being” demonstrates that so much more is achievable than modeling reality; it is the exposure of the inner psyche in a form that can only be expressed by the artist. Indeed, Rembrandt depicted himself in later years as the old, haggard and tired artist he was, near penniless, but with only paint, Rembrandt achieved a level of verity no photograph could. His student Samuel van Hoogstraten would go on to advise artists: “Benefit can be gained from the depiction of your own passions, especially in front of a mirror, where you are simultaneously the creator and the spectator.”
Facing away from the viewer, Vehabović is caught in an ambiguous emotional state. Facing the viewer head on, his glare is direct. Rendered in quivering but beautiful brushstrokes, these self-portraits with their ominous gray atmospheric backgrounds likely capture the artist’s current mood.
Yigal Ozeri, Sam Trioli, Zlatan Vehabovic, Erika Harrsch and Richard Wathen
Zlatan Vehabović, 2016, Oil on Canvas, 71 x 51 inches