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The Crisis of face

10.03.2022 - 07.04.2022

The Crisis of face / 10.03.2022 - 07.04.2022

From 10 March, the spaces of the City Gallery will fill up with portraits – fuzzy, blurred, deformed and defragmented portraits which sometimes completely omit faces or present synthetic faces, completely free of the biological rules governing nature. 

With the advent of the media age, the face – overproduced, exposed to constant display and consumed like a commodity – has reached an impasse. This in turn deepened the crisis of the portrait as the basic visual representation of the likeness, which had been building up for centuries. Hans Belting saw the reasons for the latter primarily in the fact that a painterly representation is uncapable of capturing the whole liveliness of human face with its rich array of facial expressions. This fact, as the German art historian and theoretician rightly remarks, makes the portrait an area where the face and the mask constantly interpenetrate. That, on the other hand, is a response to tendencies to control and socialise expression which are deeply rooted in our culture. Today, however, when the face has been commercialised and turned into a commodity, the tendency to subordinate the likeliness to the mask, with its constant need to discipline natural and human reflexes, becomes ever more evident.

The reality of life in a facial society, as Thomas Macho once described it, prompts young artists to attack the likeliness. Consequently, the artists gathered at the exhibition reach for unconventional formal and narrative solutions in order to liberate the portrait from convention, thus annihilating the mask of representational standards. By covering faces of characters in their paintings, by deforming, painting them over, destroying, depersonalising and sometimes omitting them altogether, the young painters address a number of current issues related to the crisis suffered by the face. In a broader perspective, they also reflect on the future of the portrait as one of the main representational subjects in art. 

The exhibition features: Lena Achtelik, Paweł Baśnik, Natalia Bażowska, Tymek Borowski, Monika Chlebek, Bartosz Czarnecki, Michał Czuba, Michał Jankowski, Justyna Jędrzejowska and Krzysztof Nowicki.

Crisis of Face exhibition runs until 7 April 2022.

The exhibition is curated by Katarzyna Zahorska.

Galeria Miejska we Wrocławiu
ul. Kiełbaśnicza 28
50-109 Wrocław

(71) 344 67 20

Kule - projekt Lech Twardowski, wykonanie Wiesław Waszkiewicz
Logotyp - Marta Płonka