Bubble

by Gioula Papadopoulou

“Bubble” is a series of 6 portraits by painters from various epochs, depicting ladies with ermines and mink furs. The original portraits are slightly modified, with the addition of protective bubbles on the heads of the depicted figures. This series was created in reference to the following 2 phenomena of the covid-19 pandemic:
– on one hand, the series refers to the recent news of the mass killing of infected minks for health reasons, in contradiction to the symbolic use of alive white ermines in two of the paintings as a symbol of purity (as indicated by relevant iconological sources) but also as a reminder of the long-lasting mass killing of minks for utilitarian reasons, ie the production of fur, as depicted to be worn by the figures in the other 4 paintings.
– on the other hand, a protective helmet is used as an additional element in the works, a transparent protective bubble covering the heads of the portrayed women, which has a double meaning: it is a means of protection (similar bubble helmets have been proposed by various designers and companies as an elegant and fancy means of protection in the time of the covid pandemic, instead of a mask) but at the same time it is also a means of isolation, literally a “soapbubble” in which human lives cut off from the natural reality and the environment.

List of the original paintings: Leonardo Da Vinci, Lady with an Ermine (Cecilia Gallerani), 1489–1491/Parmigianino, Antea (Portrait of a Young Woman), c. 1525/William Segar, The Ermine Portrait of Elizabeth I, 1585/Henri-Joseph Hesse, Young Lady in a Pink Dress and Fur Stole, 1833/Pablo Picasso, Marie-Thérèse au béret, rouge et au col de fourrure, 1937/Otto Dix, Lady with Mink and Veil, 1920.