LoosenArt Mag / Gallery

Auto Focus. A Portrait of The Self

Posted on June 08 2022

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Author Silvia Colombo, Antonio Muratore
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Auto Focus. A Portrait of The Self │ May 20th - June 15th, 2022 
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Thoughts, ideas, perceptions and emotions can be conveyed through tools capable of leaving a trace of our experience on this Earth. All this happens in a more or less conscious, rationalized and programmed action, as we communicate our way of being in the world and our way of perceiving it. Signs, traces, images and stories convey here a meaning of explicit opening up, and the more personal and intimate side of the narrator emerges from it, with the aim of creating a communication channel and therefore a channeling of knowledge, empathy and union with others. All this being useful also for the sole work of introspection and self-analysis. As many artists have shown from the end of the 19th century to today - from painting to photography - the media adopted by art prove to be useful for this purpose.
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Lucie Nechanicka, Reclining Armchair, 2020
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Self-representation is something humans have been doing for centuries thanks to literature and art. Portraying ourselves is almost an automatism, it is one of the most instinctive and yet difficult and delicate things we can accomplish. In fact, that means becoming aware of ourselves and our bodies, but also revealing ourselves to the other - the viewer - leaving aside filters and barriers.
Who are we, what do we do, how do we see ourselves?
This question implies a split between our subjective sense of self (how I see myself from the inside, as an individual) and the objective feeling of how I am seen from others. But it is mostly a question that might put at risk the way we perceive ourselves, being totally different from how we are being perceived from the outside. In fact, this presupposes the existence of two distinct entities answering to the same name and, apparently, pertaining to the same identity.

The group show Auto Focus. A portrait of the Self arranged at the Spazio Millepiani in Rome is a picture-based story revolving around the above-mentioned arguments. The artists on show represent themselves in a more literal or metaphorical way, embracing the world of symbols, colours and forms through various media - photography, digital art and video. Overall, a portrait is a picture mirroring us, breaking the glass between the portrayed and the observer. It is a significant revelation for the public, in the name of the truth being told.
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Alexandra Mavrofridi, Split, 2017
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As the exhibition path suggests, accommodating a crystal clear image of ourselves is not as easy as we may think. In fact, many of the pieces exhibited reveal the conscious but unusual choice of making the people portrayed undefined by hiding their faces, their identities. Unlike what we experience everyday - where everything must go public - some of those pictures prefer a minimalistic and discrete path. And those faces are hidden behind trickeries (a cloth, a sheet), framed from behind or revealed through small details. A shoulder, a hand, an eye.
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The exhibition goes far beyond that though. The variety of subjects staged by those photos and videos brings us face to face with a wide variation on the theme - from the denial of ourselves to a more traditional representation linked to a precise context, such as a place full of memories. The latter case being closer to a portraiture of the everyday already experimented in the past centuries.
Elsewhere, but always within the exhibition space, representing the most intimate part of ourselves literally means portraying the most intimate parts of our body - because my “ego” passes through my physical features, my curves, my imperfections as well as peculiarities like a mole, or a tattoo.
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Gizele Lima, Back to Paradise / Late afternoon Flight, 2021
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Metaphor is another filter through which the artists represent themselves by shooting their surroundings for example - but can a landscape or a maritime scene, with its lines, shapes and crashing waves convey such an intimate and personal revelation? Judging by the result, the answer is yes. All those features, all those contrasts between a physical presence and its denial, between a direct (before the camera) portraiture and an indirect (before a mirror) representation, fit into the exhibition. Also, the black and white seems to be the favourite vehicle through which the artists are able to communicate themselves, their body, their personality - with a nod to historical photography, but also to photographers such as Vivian Maier, Robert Mapplethorpe and Francesca Woodman.
And it is exactly at this point that reality takes flight, becoming ineffable poetry.
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Ava Margueritte, Behind Closed Doors / Continuum, 2017
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Leni Smoragdova, Figures Collection - The War Version, 2021
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Yuliia Zaluzhna, New Year Resolution, 2021 / Just one of..., 2020
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Chieh-Ming Sun, Unfolding Self / Unfolding Self, 2021
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Nick Kaplony, Veil, 2021
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Pierre-Louis Ferrer, Chloé #2, 2018
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Ancuta Muresan, Introspection, 2021
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AUTO FOCUS. A PORTRAIT OF THE SELF
May 120th - June 15th, 2022
Millepiani - Via N. Odero,13, Rome - IT
linfo@millepiani.eu
+39 06.888.17.620
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