Eugene Power

… from portrait to self-portrait … Vol.1

Text © Eugene Power London 2017

Since a ‘game’, to use Antonio’s word, of question and answer is a major theme of this project, it seems fair to start with the question: Why does a visual book need a written explanation? First of all, the volumes are just one aspect of a project that is far reaching, and encompasses so much more than a limited edition art book could ever hope to; and this needs to be explained. Secondly, the questions of authorship, and what kind of art the project is needs to be answered. 

On the question of authorship, a duality exists that is a reflection of the dualistic nature of the collection, because although Antonio Nodar is the project’s executor, the contribution made by the artists puts them in the position of co-authors, and indeed collaborators in its execution. To understand the project as a work of art it is necessary to know what, in its entirety it comprises of. But it would be impossible to entirely define it, as this would be what Antonio says is an “endless” pursuit. The ability of the project to defy definition is what marks it out as significant. The key to its significance lies in the way the project incorporates different and opposing elements that are never fully resolved.

 The portrait that Antonio gives the artist to work on challenges them because it is a photographic work of art, and therefore cannot be improved upon, only transformed, so it confronts the artist with themselves in a way they cannot hide from, in the fine quality of the image and the masterful way it is composed, at least not in the first instance. However, by exercising their aesthetic sensibility and creative imagination, they find a way to side step the dilemma presented by this remarkable photographic rendering of them in the way they treat it. The question posed for the viewer of interpreting the connection between the photographic portrait and the artist’s treatment of it is the result of seeing two very different, but intimately interconnected visual representations of someone side by side. 

Added to the viewer projecting themselves into the subject, is the dilemma of which 

image is a more true representation of subject, and also, what do both images together tell the viewer about the person. In this way the images of the diptych intensify eachother and, like complimentary opposite colours they mesmerize the viewer, as their gaze shifts with small, rhythmic turns of the head over and back from one to the other, in a kind of dance that leads to considering whether this is some new form of kinetic art

Text © Eugene Power London 2017