Whenever we meet someone, the first thing we look at is their face, in search of distinguishing features. We follow their gaze, their gestures, and are attentive to their different expressions. We do the same when we look at a portrait, be it an art work, even though we are aware that it is a representation, an image that someone has deliberately composed.
Portraiture has traditionally been a medium used to create a character’s image and distinguish it from the rest of society. Fidelity and likeness to the portrayed subject have always been essential conditions, although the ultimate intention has always been to reflect the subject’s identity. And this is where art poses us challenges: to paint, to photograph, or to draw is not to reproduce or reveal a self but to create an image. Nowadays we are continually taking our own pictures and yet, to paraphrase Roland Barthes, when we look into the lens of a camera we act as if we were another. In popular terms, we say that the camera doesn’t lie, yet we all know that portraits contain a degree of fiction that is actually a re-presentation.
Portraits have reached our days by broadening their definition. With new concepts, techniques and languages, the most recent art reveals multiple possibilities for producing images of the human condition and for exploring the complex notion of identity and its social implications. The works in this exhibition are from the ”la Caixa” Contemporary Art Collection. Assembled here, they return our gaze like a social mirror in which we ask ourselves the questions that have eternally perplexed us: Who are they? What do I think of them? Who am I? What do they think of me?
Our Look at Me! Portraits and Other Fictions in The ”la Caixa” Contemporary Art Collection exhibition can be visited until March 4! During the exhibition we will be sharing more about the artists and sections at the exhibition. Stay tuned!