and the portrait observed
The portrait has had a central role in the history of art. It is a fundamental theme in its development, which, together with the landscape, has been present in all their movements, genres and periods.
But the artistic medium that indisputably appropriated the portrait is photography. Its careful search for photographing people was a source of technical and conceptual experimentation, converting it from its beginnings into an emblematic genre. The first portraits, popularized during the industrialization period in the mid nineteenth century, have been established in the universal collective memory forever.
A century and a half later, the focus has changed. It was a long time for a young art. It has been a short period of time for the humanity’s radical transformation. During this evolution the portrait has now become the property of digital technology and the Internet. Portraits remain affordable for everyone, without restriction as to time or place. It is here where the exposure stops, in a portrait that tries to cross time and one that mixes a thematic tradition with a contemporary language.
In Subject/predicate, twelve artists show us their modes of thinking regarding the portrait, each one trying to deal with the consciousness of the character that has been portrayed. Each image is a negotiation between personal identity and representation. It is a way of seeing, not only with the eyes, or the camera, but also with a cultural inheritance. It is furthermore a multiplicity of creators who confront us with a variety of proposals, where the legacy of updated and key aesthetic historical topics is hereby revealed: women as a source of the representation of beauty, the purism of the nude, the family photo, the urban portrait in the squares, the self-portrait, and even subtle religious references. The tour presents us with a new phase for the portrait, delimiting, thanks to its documentary value, its contemporaneity.
For the first time in the field of the arts, the advent of photography replaced manual dexterity with visual ability. Photography therefore generated a novel and inseparable link with perception. In the portrait, more than in any other photography genre, this articulation takes on admirable value. Subject/predicate positions itself in a territory of mutual affection and inseparable links. Just as the predicate of the sentence complements the subject, here the portraitist interprets the same with the individual represented, in order that another perception finally, this time that of the spectator, does so with the portrait, with the very work exposed.
Exhibition held at Vertice Gallery (Lima).