• ArtistNed Vena
  • TitleTattoo Painting with Dragon
  • Year of Origin2017
  • GenrePainting
  • Technique and DimensionAcrylic and UV-hardened paint on canvas, 260 x 190 x 4 cm
  • Erwerbungsjahr2018

Ned Venas’ painting Tattoo Painting with Dragon (2017) is one of a series of works in which the American artist explores the relationship between image and its carrier. The tattoos that Vena has on his own body are the starting point for this work. He took them with an iPhone and digitally printed the photos on a canvas. In a next step, he photographs the resulting painting and prints it again on the fabric, creating overlaps and duplications. He also applies layers of color, creating monochrome abstract fields through which legibility is broken.

For the art critic and theorist Isabelle Graw, the genre of painting holds a special position in art, because the person of the artist is automatically inscribed in her products, which makes them come alive. With Vena this vitalization process is already carried out by the object of the painting and its origin. The tattoo of the Asian-looking dragon does not originate from the hand of the artist; but it was literally engraved into his skin. Through the transfer to the canvas, the painting ground and the body cover of Venas fall into each other. However, this tautological equation is further intensified: by overprinting the image on the canvas, the first printed motif is transformed into a carrier of itself.

(Sven Beckstette)