Keeping public face' is a term describing a desire, and often a requirement, for a person to behave in a certain way in society. The series of paintings in the collection You Are Not Alone embraces the essence of this phenomenon. For the public, we have one face while the real one we hide in order to defend ourselves. As Socrates said: “Nobody willingly chooses to do wrong. Doing wrong always harms the person doing it, and nobody seeks harm on themselves. Because of this, all wrongdoing is the result of ignorance".
In this collection, Tiko El Outa seeks to answer the main question: why do we hide our true face, and is it done consciously? What drives our decision not to be ourselves but to live a different life, putting on another face for a social life? The answers come in special linearity that manifests itself on the material and non-material levels. The red thread that runs through the paintings means the power of government and social norms. A gray thread that unites the pictures conveys a person's life in society and outside of it like a storyboard. Precise and subtle strokes that turn into loose, blurry forms play out as a conflict between real and fictional, natural and unnatural. The visual structure of chaos is profoundly perceived thanks to canvas-grained oil paper.
You Are Not Alone is a reminder of a phenomenon that exists in each of us that no one talks about.
Public men, 2022. Oil on canvas-grained paper.
According to the unwritten rules of society, a man must always be strong and imperturbable. It’s like he doesn’t have the right to show his real face, so all that remains for him is to stare into the eyes of the viewer. The subtlety and accuracy of strokes and shadows are especially noticeable in this artwork. There is no room for the flow of true emotions and colors in all this public men's power.
Public woman, 2022. Oil on canvas-grained paper.
A public woman should be perfect—always young, well-groomed, seductive, and understandable. She is the pretty girl next door that everyone dreams of. No wonder why the choice of palette for this painting is the perfect greyness: what is artificially created usually does not live in rich colors and breathes with the coolness of a concrete wall.
Public couple, 2022. Oil on canvas-grained paper.
"They look like such a beautiful couple" is the standard that society is drawn to. A couple who desires each other, what could be better? Are primitive emotions taken for real? The blur between passion and reality is well traced in the granular structure of this painting.
Secret men, 2022. Oil on canvas-grained paper.
What happens when a man, tired of constant leadership, courage, and achievement, takes off his mask of publicity? His facial expression becomes unrecognizable, blurry, and unfamiliar. His dark sides and hidden emotions come out. Red threads of prohibitions and social limits block his path. Sensual chaos playing with red and blue colors plays on the canvas.
Secret woman, 2022. Oil on canvas-grained paper.
The mask of the ideal public woman falls off, revealing many canned emotions. It becomes difficult to see the face traits; sharp red features seem to cross the face, making it inaccessible, cut, and marked. Are real emotions unforeseen and cause a sense of danger? Can the true face be a threat to society, and why should it be kept secret?
Secret couple, 2022. Oil on canvas-grained paper.
What really happens to couples when they take off their public masks? Are they holding hands, or is it just a blurry imagination and impression? Or are they burning with passion, but no one recognizes them in their secret masks? Is it possible to see their real faces under the covers of publicity?
Red hair, saturated with social norms and government prohibitions, hangs down like a heavy load. Blurred faces and blurry bodies are soaking into gray everyday life. Strokes shimmering into other forms—all this is a chaos of mystery hanging over the conflict of the present and the forced.