Portrait of Humanity (I-IX), 2016-2017
40 x 50cm
Edition of 9 + 1 AP
A group of people are standing close together, genetically and intelligently as equals. They are watching and waiting. The passerby separates them from the rest long before they meet. We never talk and we never do – we only observe and wait.
Portrait of Humanity’s foundation is build upon 278 portrait paintings; the most realistic two dimensional post-photography medium available. The visual idea comes from an older photographic work of mine: Big Brother (2015). Which in turn is based upon George Orwell’s book Nineteen-Eighty-Four taking the fiction’s concept of surveillance to heart.
Using an algorithm made to stack images in order to create a greater depth-of-field was used to cut out the sharpest parts from each painting, interweaving them seamlessly into nine compositions. For portraits; painting and photography alike, the point of focus is most of the times the eyes, therefor they remain intact together with other parts containing strong contrast. While this work of art looks like an undefined mixture of coeval works it is divided by four centuries and in doing so I created a substantial body to work with. Made up by portrayed humans – not divided by epochs or art movements.
When not being intermixed, the paintings often exudes power. The gaze of the rulers still shines through, looking down at the viewers but now as refurbished history transformed into contemporary comic relief. Birthright is still empowered by westerners just by being born, therefor not more humane. Portrait of Humanity problematize the never-ending concept of Equality and Diversity, a concept more politically present and contemporary as ever before. While we are facing the ongoing migration caused by global instability and unequal distribution of assets we tend to forget that we have the power to change our surroundings – first and foremost by daring to face it…
All original artworks is rightfully borrowed from Rijksmuseum (Rijksstudio) in Amsterdam, under a CC-license.