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Jill Mulleady, „Hamlet“, 2021

Jill Mulleady

Hamlet (2021)

Everyday scenes with figures, dreamscapes, and still lifes are among the central subjects in Jill Mulleady’s oeuvre. Despite their representational basis, her paintings, usually in large formats, have a peculiar air of abstraction. In many instances, the layering of colors in the pictorial space makes it seem that the figures could only exist as a compositional strategy. Mulleady’s artistic practice operates with explicit references to the history of painting. This was evident in her exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2020 and at the 2019 Venice Biennale, which paid tribute to the oeuvre of Edvard Munch. Mulleady’s edition – a four-color lithograph on handmade paper – depicts Prince Hamlet, the tragic hero of Shakespeare’s eponymous play who, determined to avenge his father’s death, feigns madness to unmask a murderous scheme. The motif – Hamlet’s absent gaze and his hand supporting his head – echoes a painting from the artist’s current solo exhibition at Le Consortium in Dijon and was produced specifically for TEXTE ZUR KUNST. Mulleady offers a striking portrait of Hamlet, showing that, centuries later, he is still a contemporary poster boy par excellence.