Hmmmm…up front I just wanna say I love the Z even more than he loves himself. Thats saying something. No doubt he works hard and long on his paintings. And the photos….oh the photos. Hangin with the cool kids of the art scene. Ahhhh…
All I see here with the photorealism and obsession with his own body and face as well as luxury cars and gym equipment is narcissism and boredom. I cannot see much irony or a meta-narrative. As clinical practice shows, pathological narcissism is a very real cause of our society’s sense of emptiness. Indulgence in overt narcissism is not the same as irony.
At the end of the article, the writer seems to be daring to entertain some doubt about the hero worship of Z and his super realist technique, how he is a “real painter’. Using one’s child as part of the narcissistic (ironic) fantasy seems to push the writer too far in his flow of praise.
“Critiquing consumerism” seems like a weak attempt to justify Z’s embrace of what appears to be overt narcissism. The obsession with his body and his face is evident in the paintings…no amount of alleged ironic interpretations post hoc will undo the reality of the subject matter of the pictures. Substance over form is the road to reality, and the substance of the paintings (except for that beautiful little temple on the lake) is “Another instagram day in the life of” an icon clothed in the glory of his own gloriousness. Do you think Kanye West is being ironic in his music or in his behaviour? More like a cringe-worthy victim of his own abject self-loving.
Truth telling is important. If you are being narcissistic, be self-aware enough to be that, until life provides some pushback. Saying “I was being ironic” is not gonna wash with everyone. Most people will go along with a “successful” narcissist until the followers are no longer getting their satisfaction. The art scene itself is a form of narcissistic whirlpool where the followers revolve around the Icon in a Dante-esque circle of Hell. maybe that’s what Z is satirising while he embraces it with all sincerity. But that’s not real satire. There’s a word for it and go read Dante for that one.
In a world shuddering under the destructive consequences of peak narcissism, we need our critiques of it to be real. I like Z’s paintings but let’s not pretend it’s irony.