Cristina Troufa has an urge to know herself and improve as a human being. Her creative drive is generated from the desire to understand the purpose of life, her life and society in general.
ARTICULATE 32 [ensemble], is a magazine of contemporary art, packed with 80 pages of high quality content, showcasing the work of 5 professional artists, featuring the Danish watercolor and ink artist Ole Aakjær, the Portuguese artist Cristina Troufa, the Spanish creative duo Nastplas, the Iranian photographer Ali Zolghadri and the Danish painter Julie Celina.
This article about Cristina Troufa is part of the 32th magazine, ARTICULATE #32 | ensemble. Read, download or order your print version of the full publication below.
an article written by Carmen Line Hust
The Portuguese artist Cristina Troufa has an urge to know herself and improve as a human being. Her creative drive is generated from the desire to understand the purpose of life, her life and society in general. To Troufa, one of the most crucial questions rotates around where we come from and where we go to when we die; to understand if there’s only the visible world or if we live side by side with other parallel worlds or dimensions invisible to our eyes. What if everything we believe in is an illusion and human evolution is a Utopia that leads us to constantly repeat the same mistake of the past?
To Cristina Troufa, her preferred media is acrylic paint, since she doesn’t like to mix colors on the canvas, but want them to survive the way she mixed them on the palette. Since acrylic dries quickly, they enable the functionality of overlapping and juxtapose different colors in a short amount of time without letting them blend. This way, Troufa maintains the intensity, luminosity and transparency of the acrylic.
Troufa works from the sketches she elaborates from thorough studies. These, she refines in terms of ideas and composition, prior to moving on to the canvases. When initiating a painting, everything is carefully mapped. Lately, she has been recycling photographs that she didn’t use before. Troufa has also experimented with automatic pictures of herself, autobiographies, without any prior study. These are the result of an impulsive inspiration, in which she looks for an idea. Usually Troufa starts with a sketch, from the sketch she takes pictures of herself staging the intended idea. Afterwards, she chooses the photograph that best suits her in term of composition and staging to start a new painting.
In the autobiographical work of Cristina Troufa, she performs the model of her own work, and so in addition to being a conceptual or emotional self-portrait, it is also a physical self-portrait. However, even when she was not the model of her works, she consider that the photographs were already self-portraits. Ideas come instantly; Troufa can’t explain where they come from. Sometimes Troufa is thinking of a personal life-event and an idea comes up. Other times ideas arise from feelings, a sentence, a song or a painting. Troufa creates metaphors in her head, and it is these metaphors that she carries into her paintings, oftentimes with a sense of humor. The wish of Troufa, is not for the spectator to capture the idea she wanted to convey, but rather to interpret the work by free will and draw the conclusions, taking his or her own background into consideration.
Composition is something that concerns Troufa, when she organise the different elements and colors within the visual field. Usually, Troufa follows classical or academic composition rules. Mainly, Troufa uses the Golden Ratio to organza the different elements, but also the Rule of Thirds, medians and diagonals. It would surely be possible to organise everything in an intuitive way, but having the other support to achieve a balanced composition gives Troufa peace of mind.
To Troufa, many artists had a great influence on her work - most important to her is the French post-impressionist artist Paul Gauguin (1848 - 1903), the French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 - 1901), the French impressionist Edgar Degas (1834 - 1917) and the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (1863 - 1944) among many others. With these, Troufa learned to explore an unfinished style, the line, the intense and clean color planes, the contrast between transparencies and opacities. The British artist Francis Bacon (1909 - 1992) is also a great inspiration to Troufa, as she’s influenced and appreciates the work of the post-impressionists. The Portuguese-British visual artist Paula Rego (1935 - 2022) and the Portuguese artist Helena Almeida (1934 - 2018) are also artists whose work has influenced Troufa, both in composition and in themes. After she found her own aesthetics and conceptual style, Troufa identifies herself with the surrealism of the American photographer Francesca Woodman (1958 - 1981) and the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907 - 1954) in a more visceral and emotional way.