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Power, Rage, and FulfilmentEnlarge image

Power, Rage, and Fulfilment, 1989

Attila Richard Lukacs
Canadian, 1962
oil, enamel and tar on canvas
129.5 x 533 x 2 cm
Gift of Joseph Lukacs, Calgary, 1993
National Gallery of Canada (no. 37177.1-4)
© ATTILA RICHARD LUKACS

The monkey is a classical symbol of the artist because of its reputation as a clever mimic. Lukacs borrows monkeys as symbolic stand-ins for himself as artist, personifying them as expressions of his own psyche, enslaved by their sensuous desires. This painting features captive, self-absorbed monkeys in an ambiguous morality play that combines references to traditional grand allegories (the scales of Justice or a rabbit pierced like Saint Sebastian) with more idiosyncratic suggestions of social hierarchy and ritual (the colony of rats and the bondage mask). The painting is sketched out horizontally, as if it were a portion of a historical scroll in the process of being written.

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