If we look at a portrait by Rembrandt or a sculpture by Rodin, it is as though the figures we see genuinely stand before us. We experience a similar intense presence with Maen Florin’s heads. They are never actual portraits, although there are always images of people, known or unknown, behind them. These heads however soon start leading a life of their own.
Maen Florin aims to go a step further than just depicting a person. She searches for his inner psyche, she lives entirely in his world of thoughts and feelings, she aims to unmask the motions of his soul and his deepest aspirations. The glazes she uses to paint the heads give additional expression to their features. The naked, skinny chests of the busts lend further emphasis. Shame is presented without any adornment. Suffering is made recognizable. And even when a bust is more ‘dressed’, both the structure and the materials used highlight the emotional power of the head.
When we make our way among the heads, we encounter feelings of anxiety, pleasure, resolution, grief, compassion, bliss, desperation, pride, oppression, despair, resignation, disillusion, pain, uncertainty, longing. We also make our way among the various races and typologies, each with its specific physical characteristics. It is fascinating to witness how Maen Florin succeeds in portraying the emotions and character traits of each head subtly and urgently.
She enables us to interpret the story she has conceived for every one of them.
It is as if she wants to understand and embrace the whole world.
Veerle Van Durme, September 2018