Opening : Friday February 16, at 5pm
What do portraits of medieval kings and modern-day selfies have in common? Setting a self-representation to canvas, print or screen implies selecting from among the person’s attributes. Posture, setting and emotion contribute to the expression of a self-narrative, which incidentally involves a fictional component.
Memory works similarly. It sorts through remembered details, downplays some, emphasizes others, perhaps even rearranges the course of events. The viewer must therefore demystify an image that is meant to be seen as familiar, in order to recognize the fictional component and question its consequences: does the truthfulness of an anecdote ensure the emotion it elicits?
“We are what we pretend to be,” wrote Kurt Vonnegut. In every portrait, there is inevitably a degree of pretense, or at least a discrepancy. In a projection, a representation or a performance, a face is looked at differently, staringly, as if it exists apart from the individual who is showing it. And, significantly, we see it through a medium, which influences how it is viewed.
Stemming from a collaborative effort between a photographer and a painter in search of new ways to represent individuals, Portraits is an exhibition that explores the multiple variations of portraiture in visual arts.