De:face 2007

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 De:face Installation 1 

To see more images from this exibition view the De:face Gallery page


Artists use found images to focus on the way we represent ourselves, how we interpret the representation of others and how we mediate images.  In ‘Camera Lucida’ (1980) Roland Barthes talks of photography through the disorder it creates, saying that a photograph is not so much a solid representation of what it is but of what is was and has therefore ceased to be.  I have gathered a number of black and white portraits from the 20th century and have been investigating the function of the portrait as physical reminder, comforter or vehicle for projecting identity.  The face becomes a substitute for the genuine and fills the void in separation.  In re-photographing the framed portrait photographs I have deliberately threatened the function of the souvenir by destroying the face with the studio flash.  Enlarged to a metre high the scale of the images has a significant effect on the way the portrait is arbitrated.  As a black and white photograph they relate to a past, but the obliteration of the face makes the viewer unable to identify, evaluate or remember the sitter.  Instead of replacing the image with a souvenir of a souvenir, the ‘gallery’ denies the viewer satisfaction or closure.