I saw the unfinished painting of Marie-Antoinette by Alexander Kucharsky for the first time in an exhibition in Paris more than 10 years ago.
I was fascinated by how the detailed face and background mixed with blank, unfinished areas. It made the painting appear almost modern. Furthermore the unfinished painting also tells a more layered story than a finished one. It shows that the portrayed (Marie-Antoinette) has fallen from grace during the realisation of the work. As the Queen was imprisoned and later tried and executed, the painting was never finished. A blow, from a pike, by a revolutionary is visible on the lower part of the work; an almost literal sign off the times.
For MondiLab I created a new version of the painting combining print and machine embroidery. The embroidered polka dots give yet another layer to the painting making it more contemporary. The polka dot pattern is embroidered in different densities; dense on the outside and fading towards the face.
The second work in the series is an unfinished painting/sketch of Napoleon. In stead of polka dots this work is embroidered with a pattern of bees. The symbol of the bee was chosen by Napoleon to represent his status as an emperor.
Photo by Mirella Sahetapy