‘Territory of Doubt’, oil on canvas, 2016, framed 64 x 64 cm (canvas size 60 x 60 cm)
The title of the painting refers to an area of uncertainty. It is a combination of two, unrelated, subjects which have been merged into one another. One is a scene from European cinema. The other from a reportage photograph showing a scene of devastation in Syria. One fact, one fiction. Both subjects are, however, in dangerous territory, both unsure of the outcome.
About the subjects:
The character, ‘Severine’ (subject of the film Belle du Jour, played by Catherine Deneuve) plays out sexual fantasies and leads a double life (potentially dangerous in a self-destructive way). The film is shot in a way that makes the audience question what is really happening and what she is just fantasising about.
The ambiguous ending is what the director (Luis Bunuel) describes as his own uncertainty, he has various endings in mind but can’t decide which to use therefore leaves it un-concluded.
He states ‘in life there are situations that don't end, that have no solution’.
I thought this was an appropriate quote, not only in relation to the film’s ending, but also for the never-ending war zone Syria has become. There is no specific answer for either story.
In the composition the image of devastation becomes almost an abstraction in the background, the figure looks as if she is at once holding on and pushing away, whilst literally fading into it. The painted surface is built up with a palette knife, representing the muted colours of rubble.