Spanning five decades of artistic practice, the exhibition is centred around self-portraiture and encompasses painting, photography, video, sculpture and installation work. Taking the early 1970s as a starting point, SELBSTBILDNIS tells a subjective tale of the genre’s evolution and the conversations surrounding it. Among the angles assumed by the exhibition is self-portraiture’s continual change of focus, from face to body, body to skin, skin to prosthetics like clothing, accessories and electronic devices. These points of friction and shifts occurring through the artistic practice allow us to consider themes of wider social, political, cultural and technological change.
In SELBSTBILDNIS, a thread also connects works that contemplate the link between the concept of individual identity and the notion of play. Through gestures of appropriation and masquerade, artists challenge the fallacy of a self-portraiture as an expression of the artist’s true self. Instead they expose the discipline as relentless negotiation between social expectations and narcissistic compulsion. Often set in places of significance to the artists – apartments, bedrooms, bathrooms and even bathtubs, these artworks play with the relationship between intimacy and exhibitionism.
The exhibition at Société probes pairs of concepts such as mirroring and projecting, nudity and costume, face and mask, authenticity and deceit, power and submission, trauma and pleasure, melancholy and euphoria, reflexiveness and compulsion.