(Self)portrait: the Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other

Text: Projekt6

For Projekt6 the hour they knew nothing of each other started from the moment they decided to deal with the problematic of perception and proportion of objective and subjective in a portrait. In produced works the authors question the ways one experiences somebody’s exterior features in correlation with that which is invisible and comprehensible. However, is it possible, and to what extent, to stay objective in that case and how real is that picture?
If the world we perceive is nothing but the projection of what our brains allow us to see, by leaving the space to each author to write his/her own reality we will be presented to the spectra of different points of view, the reconstruction of the more realistic image of the world. Considering the selectivity of the observer and the fact that the portrait often tells more about the author than about the portrayed individual himself, this “game” we started will open new possibilities of the expression and critic. The same person, portrayed by another author, is not that “same person” anymore and these detachments are creating the profile of our collective relationship. Therefore, we decided to study the problem of perception and subjectivity in the artistic portrait; in this case the portrait is not the goal but the mean.

Through knowing, confronting, and accepting one self and others there exists a boundary difficult to set. “…all I know concerning self-portrait will be absence and intangibility (how expected?)…anti-portrait more likely…” Karla Šuler explains her concept in the mail. Her physical absence within the collective resulted with physical absence of her work at the exhibition. Precise and aware, acknowledged to herself and others, publicly announced…

On the other side, Igor Juran presented his self-portrait through previously exhibited work from the Stereotypes and Prejudices cycle. To present itself in such way, without concealing, and revealing perhaps the lack of ideas, time, and effort? Honest, in every case. And honesty took every possibility of misunderstanding and passing judgement. Such barrings of one’s thoughts and attitudes, are extremely personal acts which suppose openness to all kinds of (un) reactions and confrontations with them in various ways.

Maja Rožman tries to find out up to what measure is possible to objectively evaluate somebody’s character and how a personal opinion can influence a final judgement. Which is more accurate, one’s own perception of oneself or the opinions of others? The author portrays the collective’s members by leaving each of the portrayed to some else’s evaluation: each author fills in some other author’s place a personality test (Jung Typology Test™ ) — Zdravko describes Marta’s character, who describes Igor, who describes Tea…–while Maja uses the acquired profiles as referent points for the portraits. The truth about the model is irrelevant, therefore she is erased from the painting which is supplemented with textual descriptions of her alleged personality, based on which an observer creates the (un)true picture of the portrayed.

In Zdravko Horvat’s work, through the combination of an individual’s character mental image (which is achieved with the adjectives describing the features of the portrayed), his (physical) portrait and replica in the form of handwriting there comes to clashing of two subjectivities – one from the one who portrays and one from the one being portrayed. With that, two viewing points are got which allow the observer to create one objective picture of the person portrayed, and with adding a handwriting replica of the portrayed the work becomes in part a self-portrait as well.

Tea Hatadi exhibits five portraits made out of collage paper and framed in massive silver and golden frames. The portraits present the profiles of Projekt6 authors’ faces as seen in silhouettes. Each profile has its own symbolic color which reminds the author of each member of the group. In the sixth frame there is a mirror, while on a pedestal, scissors and collage paper are being offered so each observer could fashion a cutout of his own silhouette or someone else’s profile in a specific color. The works are fashioned after the profiles made by authors on the streets of metropolises–like Paris–ordered by passerby’s and tourists, that is foreigners, who later on frames the profile and puts it on a wall as a souvenir, memento, art work, the work of an unknown artist and her own portrait. That silhouette of a face is not recognizable in its entirety, and can belong to some other person: from it the character of the portrayed isn’t to be read, nor the signature of its author. Tea’s work notes the moment of a mutual non recognition, but at the same time also a moment when the contact/meeting of the model and “the artist” took place – that of an unknown author with an unknown passerby.

Trying to portray members of the group Project 6 at Sarajevo’s exhibition, Martina Miholić presents us work named “Superficial Portraits of My Precious Friends”. Entering the gallery space first thing we note are five copies of classicistic frames. Our first and automatic assumption is we are going to be confronted with five portraits of group members. Encountering the exponent we recognize the expected portraits has been replaced with mirrors, while the names of members applied below the frames stay almost unnoticed. Instead of the members portraits’ we get confronted with our own reflection in the mirror. With such a process Martina tried to examine the need for reading our own characteristics in others and kitsch in interpersonal relationships. Leaving them out of view, Martina emphasizes their presence. She makes questions. Who is this person? Why can’t we see it? Why the only thing we see is ourselves?
In her other work Martina present us members of the group in a form of a marble bust, exposing us their back side. Such an act of provokes the questions of the artists role and status in society. Are they just a figure or a real entity? At the same time Martina is glorifying them, ironise, and expose them. She takes their word away. But still, you never know when they’ll face forward and start to speak. And what’ll they speak out.