Label Text: As a child growing up in Florence, Italy, Sandro Chia was very aware of art's glorious past. Although he began his career as a conceptual artist, Chia's dissatisfaction with his early work steered him back to his artistic roots, looking to Classical and Renaissance images and themes for inspiration. By reinterpreting well-known subjects and forms through his modern eye, the artwork supports his belief that art is composed of a long chain of artistic movements, of which he is only one link.
Man on a Beach features a man kneeling, his upper torso contorted and his hands clasping his head. Roughly based on an ancient Greek sculpture, Aphrodite from Rhodes, Chia has not only changed the figure's gender but distorted the classical naturalistic form by elongating the back and neck. The acidic pink skin color combined with the blank, white eyes and contorted pose creates an image of a tortured soul, isolated by his visible pain as well as his physical surroundings. Placed on a gray beach with only a few squiggly lines to indicate water, Chia's choice of background, jarring colors and figural distortions imbue this classical form with a new modern contextual significance.