Self-Portrait‘ Self -portraits will continue to be made as long as there are artists who are aware of their own individuality; and the serious photographer who has never made a picture of himself probably does not exist. How many people stop by the photo booth to take pictures of themselves even if they have no particular need for the photograph at that moment? A photograph, or better yet, a film of oneself confirms one’s existence and individuality: but then only of that given moment, because by the time the film is completed even more of one’s life has passed and he is no longer the same person.
Despite the limitations film and photography have, by far the advantage over painting is when the task is a realistic representation of the self. This is probably one of the reasons why it is mostly video and photography artists who are working with this theme.
This direct connection with visible reality is actually the only obvious point of agreement between video and the photographic media. In one sense the two are in fact each other’s opposites. Video concerns itself with moving images; the tape has a beginning and an end, and the element of time plays an important role. Because of this the story telling potential is much greater than in a photograph, where the time aspect is absent.
A photograph, or a drawing or painting for that matter, has no viewing sequence. All elements of the image are present for the viewer simultaneously. A photograph is ‘dead’ in the sense that its time stands still; the very essence of life assumes the changes that take place in working time. When the Dutch use the verb ‘ vereeuwigen’ ( immortalize) to mean ‘ to photograph’, they are in effect recognizing this property of the medium.
Another manifestation of the essential difference between video and photography is that fact that videos are often accompanied by sound and photographs are not. Sound moves forward in time as does the rolling videotape. A photograph is timeless because it has ‘ no duration ‘. They only way to bring the time element into photography is to present a series of photographs which are then viewed in a given sequence. The photo series of Diana Blok, ‘ Sacred and Profane Love ‘ in this exhibition are an example of this.’
Linda Roodenburgh, 1987Curator of ‘Images of the Self’ and international symposium ‘ The Art Machine ‘ 1987
The exhibition of all women artists included Ulrike Rosenbach, Marina Abramovic, Lieve Prins, Marlo Broekmans, Madelon Hooykaas/Elsa Stansfield, Nan Hoover, Toto Frima, Joyce de Gruiter, Alice Odilon, Dineke Waakop Reyers, Michal Shabtay & Diana Blok.