A traditional portrait is a work of art that depicts an individual and reveals something of their character, personality or position. Portraiture as an art form has changed radically in recent decades as the concept of identity has altered. The idea of a ‘true self’ that can be captured in a picture is no longer regarded as tenable. Art is now seeking new ways to depict varied and changeable identities.
The exhibition presents works from the Kiasma Collections and other contemporary artworks through the theme of portraiture. While some of the works are traditional self-portraits, many of the artists focus on the body or physical presence instead of the face and external likeness. Some works only show objects associated with a person or a role, while some depict a celebrity whom the artist has never met.
Although the boundaries of portraiture have become blurred, the concept nevertheless invokes the idea of encounter. A portrait puts the viewer into contact with another person, be it the artist or someone else. At times the subject of the portrait meets our gaze, at other times they turn their face away.