“Art history, architecture, and music stand as documents of previous worlds,” Figgis notes. She was attracted to Fragonard’s painting because it “lures you into an innocent world, a specific moment in pre-revolutionary France.” For Figgis, it felt ripe for reinvention because “we are experiencing a similar moment now…a feeling that something bad could happen at any given moment.” The Swing After Fragonard shares a sensibility with the filmmaking of David Lynch, in which unspoken horror and strangeness hides behind the most mundane facades. The macabre here is similarly thrilling, shot through with an irresistible sense of taboo.
There are parallels to be drawn, too, with other satirists of social breakdown throughout the history of painting. Figgis describes her cover version of ’s Mr. & Mrs. Andrews
(c.1750) (which she’ll exhibit at Almine Rech) as addressing issues related to land and ownership, and the absurdity of “owning land, standing over it, guarding it.” Indeed, the artist’s portrayal of figures—whether in landscapes, domestic settings, or as portraits—is disconcerting, their blank or frightening expressions suggestive of some darker intent or absence. It creates a sense of uncertainty that complicates our engagement with ostensibly straightforward subjects (one of her paintings seems at first glance to depict a wedding, but is titled Blue Cult