Expressive, erotic, exquisite! The elaborately staged photographs by Jaime Travezan & David Tortora instantly capture our attention. Composed with an eye for details and loaded with sexual symbolism, the ultra-real aesthetic and exaggerated drama remind us of the work of Miles Aldridge or David LaChapelle.
More than anything, however, the series is actually an homage to American painter Tom Wesselmann. Travezan & Tortora’s eccentric compositions pay tribute to Bedroom Painting and Great American Nude, which Wesselman made in the 1960s and 1970s. These new works provide a contemporary re-interpretation of the pop-artist’s iconic images.
Inspiration is drawn not only from recent art history, however. The title of the series is taken from Greek mythology. According to legend, the sculptor Pygmalion fell in love with an ivory statue he had carved. Aphrodite brought this statue to life, whereupon it fell in love with the sculptor. Galatea is this statue’s modern name. In their work, the artists succeed in portraying their model in an almost sculptural manner. Set in a rigid pose, her body combines with the organic shapes of the plants, fruits, and surroundings in a giant still-life. Thanks to the artists’ mastery of cultural allusions and references, the series has multiple layers of meaning and stands out through its exact yet extraordinary imagery.