Throughout art history, a mark of a ‘master’ artist was the existence of an exceptional self-portrait – to be immortalized in an image and rendered as a true likeness to be sure that future generations could know the mark of this master. In as much, the self-portrait is an easy and handy practice tool – an intimate and accessible resource.
The legacy of the self portrait extends into the contemporary paradigm but has morphed into a continuous cycle of obsessive self-documentation or in parallel sometimes calls for the rejection of identifiers all together. Representations of self can mean an intricate and meticulous making of each eyelash and freckle, captured in paint, pencil, ink or digital particles. At the same time, fragmented and cut up glimpses or quiet still lives or mussed up pillowcases can also offer an insight into a notion of ‘self’. Coupled with text, confronted by form or abstraction, banged out in an interactive performance – the contemporary possibility of a self-portrait begs to explore and occasionally subvert its legacy and genre across various mediums.
This exhibition pushes past an external assumption of ‘normal’, confronting and querying representation of and self-representation by womxn artists working in print and on paper today. While interrogating the tradition and archetype of portraiture as a whole and self-portraiture concurrently, the exhibition presents work as various and in multiplicities as is afforded by the medium by virtue of editions. Consequently, the concept of a revered and singular self-portrait as an intrinsic and crucial marker of ‘master’ is subverted.
Opens Thursday, 03 May 2018, 18h00 until 21h00 @ 69 Burg Street, Cape Town.