ALEXANDER TINEI'S HAUNTING BLUE TATTOOS

The anonymity of the 'found' figures raise questions of identity, authenticity and feel as if universal, a depiction of a collective humanity, having a direct impact on the viewer.

By Balthzar Malevolent

ALEXANDER TINEI'S HAUNTING BLUE TATTOOS

Alexander Tinei, born in 1967 in Caushani, Moldova, is a visual artist residing and working in Budapest, Hungary. Tinei is primarily known for painting portraits and figures in a characteristic muted skin with colorful — most often blue — vein-like stigmatic signs on their bodies.

Found photographic material functions as a starting point from which the image departs. The figures are depicted in a new context, examining the relationship between time and (the existence of) the human body. As a result, his works seem to have a significant metaphysical character, drenched in a melancholic atmosphere. The anonymity of the 'found' figures raise questions of identity, authenticity and feel as if universal, a depiction of a collective humanity, having a direct impact on the viewer.

The Moldovan artist can be situated in a wider movement of Eastern European Painting as a part of New Figurative Painting, marked by a figurative visual language in a darker atmosphere. In Tinei's earlier work, from 2008 up to roughly 2013, his paintings were characterized by a dark, most often black, background. The skin of his figures, reminiscent to German mannerists such as Lucas Cranach (1472-1553), create a strong contrast in his paintings, as if the light is coming from his tormented figures. Motives such as birds, trees, absent faces and the characteristic blue veins, are a continuum throughout his oeuvre.

Around 2013-2014, there is a visible transition in the esthetics of his works. Colour finds its way in to his images, as well as fractured paint on the surface of the canvas. The trees from his dark world in his earlier work seem to have transformed into branches, roots or sometimes even plants or flowers. The characteristic manner of image building remains, as do certain compositions, such as 'the kiss', 'boy with a stick', and so on (cf. infra; selected works — 2008-2020). However, his imagery becomes more complex and layered, as a collage in paint. Besides this development in his oeuvre, Tinei also creates collages, graphite works, installations, and recently, he has been repainting photographs.

Alexander Tinei

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