Spotlight: Australian-based photographer Francisco Tavoni creates luminous portraits inspired by meditation and philosophy

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About the artist: Venezuelan-born, Australian-based artist Francisco Tavoni creates color-saturated artworks that are the result of filmic processes manipulated in new and unlikely ways. Tavoni’s latest series “Indentidad” shows the ghostly, abstract silhouettes of women from the shoulders up in radiant tones. The large-format pictures can be read as painted figures; In fact, the artist creates this effect by using a sheer fabric to obscure finer details of the photo. He then develops these images using traditional three-part chromogenic processes, which he prints onto treated cotton rag sheets, further blending the media of photography and textile. The artist, who lives and works in Byron Bay, New South Wales, recently completed a successful solo exhibition at the Lindberg Gallery in Melbourne. The show, titled “Temet Nosce,” meaning “Know Thyself,” viewed Tavoni’s practice as a vehicle for self-discovery rooted in meditation and ego shedding.

Francisco Tavoni in his studio, 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

Why we like it: Tavoni’s photographs are luminous, exuding an aura or glow reminiscent of Man Ray’s famous solarized black and white prints. Color is of course very important to the artist; His use of vibrant reds, oranges, and blues references the blazing sun and churning seas that Tavoni encountered in Australia, Venezuela, and Italy, where his family has roots. Tavoni sees his work underpinned by philosophical and meditative traditions such as the Hamsa mantra, which focuses on the inhaling and exhaling of the breath. For the artist, concealing the details of an individual’s face relates to the essence of self and soul that exists beyond the conventions of contemporary society. These works also transcend these interests, drawing on a wealth of art historical references, from Color Field painting to Pop Art, and offering an exciting path forward for contemporary color photography.

Installation view “Temet Nosce

Installation view “Temet Nosce” at Lindberg Gallery, Melbourne, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Lindberg Gallery.

According to the artist: “I want this work to influence how we understand identity and how the layers of external social conditioning play that role. Since this work is about identity, it made sense to do the work in portrait format, like an ID photo or your passport photo is taken. Part of the inspiration comes from states of meditation where I feel like entering a clear space – the work is an interpretation of what it feels like to enter those states. The red and warmer tones are inspired by the soil of Caracas and Australia, while much of the artwork references the sun and sunset. I feel like there is a bit of magic in how we experience and connect these phenomena.”

Browse the artist’s works below.

Desde el Sol (2022)
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Francisco Tavoni, Desde el Sol (2022).  Courtesy of the artist.

Francisco Tavoni, Desde el Sol (2022). Courtesy of the artist.

Klara (2022)
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Francisco Tavoni, Clara (2022).  Courtesy of the artist.

Francisco Tavoni, Klara (2022). Courtesy of the artist.

Agua (2022)
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Francisco Tavoni, Agua (2022).  Courtesy of the Philadelphia Muse

Francisco Tavoni, Agua (2022). Courtesy of the Philadelphia Muse.

Learn more about Francisco Tavoni via the Artnet Gallery Network.

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