At the beginning of the confinement, when it was still a novelty, people were trying to find ways to keep an active physical and mental routine.
A peculiar case in Barcelona struck me: a gym trainer started giving “en plein air” aerobics lessons from the roof of their building. Residents from the nearby apartment complexes joined in from the safe distance of their balconies and this dynamic reminded me of an experiment from Nintendo: “Wii Fit”. The four canvases of “Paintings from Home” portray the character of the Wii fit Trainer.
Conceived as a virtual personal trainer which doubles as a mirror/avatar for the players, she quickly grew in popularity for her very lack of personality. Approximations of the human figure can provoke two kinds of responses: rejection of the simulation – the uncanny valley- or acceptance, even welcoming, of the non-human. Her sheer blandness and relatively crude 3D model give off a soothing and reassuring feeling, which elevates the trainer from computer coding to the status of caring friend to practice yoga with; all from the comfort and familiarity of our homes.
The wii fit trainer has become the object of a worldwide-scale parasocial phenomena uniting users form vastly different age groups and demographics through her sheer relatability and adaptability to the individual’s imaginative portrayal of her.
With these paintings, I intend to explore the possible portrayal of this non-character by lifting elements from renaissance-era portraits of noble families and blend them with poses taken from in-game screenshots or decontextualized references. The backgrounds are reminiscent of a blend of virtual elements – grids, hearts, soft gradients, etc – and domestic connotations, such as the monstera leaves which peek behind the subject.
The individual works are (from left to right in order of upload)
“Directly”, 2020, oil and acrylic on canvas, 75x90cm
“Just think of me as your mirror image”, 2020, oil on canvas, 75x90cm
“Now let’s practice the warrior pose”, 2020, oil on canvas, 75x90cm
“Two friends at the polygon”, 2020, oil and acrylic on canvas, 65x90cm