sexta-feira, novembro 13, 2009

Representation and Portrait


Self-portraiture has been gaining in the last and present centuries a crescent attention from the artistic and academic communities due to the strong role it plays, outside the field of fine arts and through popular celebrity and iconic cultures, in influencing and defining the concept of the self in modern societies. In self-representation, the self is used to communicate a message apart from the realm of characteristics and traits that define the persona, being different from self –portraiture. However, how dissociated is in reality self-portraiture from self-representation? The use of the nude body for example is a powerful tool in the businesses of marketing, publicity and fashion, being commonly present and symbolized in several identity aspects of industrialized countries. The social concept of a perfect nude body has generated social health tragedies as bulimia, anorexia and other psychological states of illness. Unhappiness is generated from the impossibility of being portrayed as an ideal figure. However, as psychoanalytic theory suggests, the one’s frustration with her/his exterior image results from a scattering and loss of identity of the self. As a reaction to this reality, a major focus has been given to the nakedness of the self in both self-representation and self-portraiture, where the excesses of a globalization driven by social ghosts of an ideal image of the naked body and frenetic consumerism are addressed. As in 20th century feminism, in the artistic context and condition of social activism in a postmodern world, where the artist plays a role that defines her/his self, it is impossible to dissociate self-representation from self-portraiture, the artist’s persona from the artist work and legacy.
Above image by Nikki S Lee

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