LISTER | Mona Lisa doesnt pose.

Australia 1980

Mona Lisa doesnt pose. 2004
Signed and dated lower right below image, in white pencil, 'LISTER 04'. Titled lower centre below image, in white pencil, ' 'MONA-LISTER DOESN'T POSE' ' Inscribed lower left below image in white pencil, 'A/P'.
printed image 73.0 (h) x 46.0 (w) cm
Gordon Darling Australia Pacific Print Fund 2007
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
NGA 2007.57


Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, known as the Mona Lisa, is one of the most famous images in the world and one of the most reproduced artworks of all time. The painting has also been reinvented and parodied by a host of influential modern artists, such as Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dali, Fernand Leger and Andy Warhol. While those earlier versions ridiculed her or turned her into a pop-art icon, Lister has reinvented this demure Italian lady as a stencil art image for the twenty-first century.

The title for the work is both comical and defiant: Mona Lisa doesn’t pose. Lister’s Mona Lisa is an independent young woman, who stubbornly turns away to face in the opposite direction to the original. Clad all in black, with her pale white skin, she looks almost as if she belongs to the rebellious Goth subculture and she certainly dresses to please herself, not to pose for a society portrait. The original Mona Lisa is perhaps best-known for the faint, enigmatic smile that plays about her lips, without revealing her teeth. Lister’s version wears a slash of vivid red lipstick, and while her mouth is closed, it is with a jagged grimace reminiscent of fangs or as if her mouth has been sewn shut in protest or violence. However, an aura of white paint behind her figure gives Lister’s Mona Lisa an air of ethereal other-worldliness. Behind her tough exterior, her thoughts are filled with light.

Elizabeth Howell

Street by Lister

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