Richard Phillips’s work occupies a space in which art and fame, painting and the massive output of the image-producing industry intersect. It is a space where the solidity of the canvas and its material, ever so suavely finished concreteness encounters the smoothly circulating reproductions of photographed bodies and faces aspiring to a glamorous existence in pictures. Who hasn’t by now seen his portraits of Sasha Grey? Who doesn’t remember them? Phillips’s art exploits this recognition factor, capitalizes on it, and puts it on display at the same time. It restages the conditions of celebrity’s emergence, turning its consideration into a nearly tautological experience. Looking at a work by Phillips, one doesn’t simply see the canvas, the motif, or the mass-mediated image that functioned as its prompt. One also recognizes this feeling of recognizing the depicted person, while the polished surface of painting reiterates the photography’s shininess, or the screen on which that recognition initially occurred.
For his edition for TEXTE ZUR KUNST, a print of the painting First Point, Phillips has used an image of Lindsay Lohan. The icon of scandalous downfall is shown here at the beach, clutching a surfboard, while her outline is hugged tightly by a wetsuit whose curvaceous geometries segment an arrangement of intensely candy-colored surfaces. Phillips has modified his usual procedure here: Rather than turning to a preexisting image, he produced a film with the actress, also titled First Point, a visual homage to the surf genre. Serving as an independent piece, as which it has also been exhibited, that video now functions as the most expensive of all sources – a work of its own, from which this image, too, derives.
Archival pigment print, 55.9 x 83.8 cm, Edition: 100 + 20 A.P., numbered and signed on the front, € 690.- plus shipping.