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San Francisco

Eli Ridgway Gallery

Exhibition Detail
Mutables
172 Minna Street
San Francisco, CA 94105


September 22nd, 2012 - October 27th, 2012
Opening: 
September 22nd, 2012 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
 
Christ, Adi NesAdi Nes, Christ,
2009, C-print, 44 1/2 x 35 3/8 inches
© Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery
From the series Nollywood, Obechukwu Nwoye, Enugu, Nigeria, Pieter HugoPieter Hugo,
From the series Nollywood, Obechukwu Nwoye, Enugu, Nigeria,
2008
© Pieter Hugo, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York
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Eli Ridgway Gallery is pleased to present Mutables, a survey of a imaginative revisions to the field of portraiture. The portrait is one of the oldest genres of artistic inquiry. Candid or posed, the focused portrayal of an individual is often mentally synonymous with attempts at veracity, familiarity or utilitarian need for capturing one’s likeness. Beginning with the tradition of Renaissance paintings of the wealthy and their affinities, evolving to contemporary uses as mug shots or yearbook photos, the history of the portrait ranges from a functional method of record keeping to the intimate probing of psychological states. A multitude of contemporary artists, however, are modifying these tropes to facilitate encounters with intentionally ambiguous aims. Employing elements of disguise (such as costume, camouflage and various role playing deceptions), Mutables’ photographic portraits are intentionally misleading representations, far divorced from the origins of the genre. Its subjects are transformed into alter egos, narrative characters, or curiosities of social and cultural tourism. The juxtaposition of a verifiable history with attempts to appear mutable, or able to manifest in other forms, introduces questions of the contemporary impetus for and value of the portrait. Whether manipulated accounts of biography, mischievous gag, or genuinely rigorous investigation into a sitter’s subconscious, the portraits in Mutables thoughtfully offer playful constructions of the performative or outright fictitious.

 


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