logo Pescarart 2023 : Bianco & Nero

XXI Premio PescarArt

Bianco & Nero

9 - 16 December 2023

l’Aurum, la Fabrica delle idee 

Largo Gardone Riviera, Pescara (I)

A juried group exhibition with 70 Italian and international participants in 2 categories: 

painting/installation and photography.

Catalogue available : Paladino Editore

ISBN 978-88-8460-270-1

Diptych by Paul Critchley "Caution : Red Line"
Diptych by Paul Critchley "Caution : Red Line"
Diptych by Paul Critchley "Caution : Red Line" - detail

Caution : Red Line

diptych, oil on canvas on hardboard

175 x 50 cm closed, 175 x 100 cm open

The first time I went to Russia was in 1998, the last time was in August 2021– I have been to Russia six times. I painted this picture, Предупреждение! : Красная Линия, (Caution! : Red Line) in 2000 after I visited Moscow. The world around us is coloured so in the painting the outside is coloured but the inside is black and white, I did this because I wanted to create an uneasy atmosphere; to emphasise the feeling of being in a completely different environment/society. 

I left England in 1985 and in doing so I left my native language. I left not to go on a holiday for two weeks but to live and paint in new circumstances. For the past 38 years I’ve live amongst people who speak different languages which makes verbal communication more complicated. However music and painting don’t need words to be understood, they just need to be felt. Words, like these, are adjectives to explain, give reasons and directions for the imagination to think. For example that red line marks the point at which the other world starts. That Red Line is the border between private spaces; between yours and someone else’s. That private space is your personal territory and if anyone gets too close you either back off or push them away. When you meet someone for the first time there’s always a period of ‘testing the waters’; making polite conversation, getting to know the new person whilst at the same time they are trying to get to know you. It’s personal politics which we all do. When you are the outsider in a community, the new and unknown one, you have to learn how to react, how to behave and to adapt, you have to respect the private space of the person before you. Normally it’s a natural ability but there are cultural differences between societies, some are very formal others very liberal. But don’t get too close, don’t cross that red line or the other person might back away from you. 

Telephones are tools of communication, we use them everyday, but they’re impersonal. In the painting they represent people: one telephone is stretched, the other is shrinking away into the other room.