Louisiana’s big Autumn exhibition Self-Portrait focuses on the self-portrait as genre through-out the 20th and 21st century.
At the beginning of the twentieth century the self-portrait tradition was influenced by Romanticism’s ideas of the creative genius or bohemian – and the self-portrait was viewed more or less as a representation of the artist’s mental state or existential and social conditions. But the idea of the ‘portrait of the artist’ as a special, exotic individual gradually crumbled under the influence of among other things the emergent theory of psychoanalysis, and the self-portrait became more analytical. Increasing self-observation made its impact in the works as aesthetic reflections on the identity of the artist, and an incipient incorporation of the artist’s personality and body in the work.
The show, which is chromological, extends from the beginning of modernism until the present day, and shows about 150 works by international artists who have worked with the self-portrait as a genre. Some are represented by a single work, others with several, to illustrate variation and diversity. Within the last thirty years the self-portrait has ceased to be part of a modernist tradition. To an increasing extent the genre involves new media, as the exhibition also shows.
The show is accompanied by an lillustrated catalogue with the essays Self-Portrait by Helle Crenzien, Know Thyself by Eleanor Nairne, Portraits of the Self by Finn Skårderud, Golden Years? by Liz Rideal, Das malt ich nach meiner Gestalt by Marco Pierini, and a list of works.
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art Website