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  • Writer's pictureRobin Yong

Madonna マドンナ

Updated: Mar 23

My new attempt of another new style of photography for put some of my Venetian portraits against photoshopped backgrounds, something like those fine art portraits done in those fashion and art magazines, yes, the combination of kitsch, pop and surrealism....

Kitsch: According to the Oxford art dictionary, kitsch is "art, objects or design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way". Many art critics argue that kitsch art is characterized by exaggerated sentimentality and melodrama. Kitsch (/kɪtʃ/ KITCH; loanword from German) is a term applied to art and design that is perceived as naïve imitation, overly eccentric, gratuitous or of banal taste.

The modern avant garde traditionally opposed kitsch for its melodramatic tendencies, its superficial relationship with the human condition and its naturalistic standards of beauty. In the first half of the 20th century, kitsch was used in reference to mass-produced, pop-cultural products that lacked the conceptual depth of fine art. However, since the emergence of Pop Art in the 1950s, kitsch has taken on newfound highbrow appeal, often wielded in knowingly ironic, humorous or earnest manners.

Pop: Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the United Kingdom and the United States during the mid- to late-1950s. The movement presented a challenge to traditions of fine art by including imagery from popular and mass culture, such as advertising, comic books and mundane mass-produced objects. One of its aims is to use images of popular culture in art, emphasising the banal or kitschy elements of any culture, most often through the use of irony. It is also associated with the artists' use of mechanical means of reproduction or rendering techniques. In pop art, material is sometimes visually removed from its known context, isolated, or combined with unrelated material.

Surrealism: Surrealism is a cultural movement that developed in Europe in the aftermath of World War I in which artists depicted unnerving, illogical scenes and developed techniques to allow the unconscious mind to express itself. Its aim was, according to leader André Breton, to "resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality into an absolute reality, a super-reality", or surreality. It produced works of painting, writing, theatre, filmmaking, photography, and other media.

Works of Surrealism feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur.

For this particular mask, I picked something with a gold background, (because in Asia we like gold a lot), and a little bit of exotic Asian influence with the monstera and palm leaves so as to give the photo a slight modern punch. Gold is also a rather unusual colour to be featured in photos and I thought this is one of the costumes that might be good when framed in gold.

The headgear is actually made by a famous atelier in Germany. In Europe, there's a huge following for period and Venetian costume gear in places like Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Belgium especially. Many of the masked models in Venice design and make their own costumes, but often get help with the masks/ headgears or other props from specialised ateliers and friends.

Madonna crowns usually make good pictures, especially those that come with flowers because the flowers soften the look in female models.

I try to limit colour use to only 4 major colors in this photo.

Not sure if this kind of thing will be to everyone's liking but I suppose it's something new for me...

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