Portrait of Denial

Portraits accompany mankind through his entire history. At times an attempt to stay present for the descendants, at times a demonstration of power. From the very early portraits, the so-called mummy portraits, to present times, every portrait strives to show as much similarity as possible.

Sovereigns and saints used to be the first to be portrayed as icons, later independent individuals. Therefore we know how they looked like: popes, bishops and cardinals, kings and queens, war lords, merchants, patriarchs, states-servants, their wives and famous philosophers and poets. We see what they desired and owned, since their effigy was manufactured carefully and true to their idea of importance and grandeur. Since the renaissance the portrait occupies an important place in art history.

It also was used and still is used for different purposes: to secure importance the image of famous peoples was put on coins and bills or on to stamps as representatives for nations. Criminals are found on search warrents and inmates are portrayed through police photography.

Portraits can be classified by view (frontal, 1/4profile, 1/2 profile, 3/4 profile, profile) and by form of depiction (portrait, bust…) and can be realized through different types of media (sculptures, paintings, graphics, photographs, videos, CAD programs). The pictured persona mostly occupies the full format – their face enlightens the space of the image or the given room of the media.

With the beginning of modern times and the age of technology the requirements for portraits change. Not only the outward appearance of the portrayed person dominates, but the artistic expression pushes into the foreground. It is the artists take on the world. While in the arts this development is being seen as a process of liberation, having seemingly opened new horizons to modern societies, an image produced with use of I.-R.A.S.C. shows the desperate approach to preserve the hard-won liberties.

The I.-R.A.S.C. portrait of denial represents a radical change not only from the former appearance of portraits but also with regards to its meaning. The face cannot be recognized, further more it vanishes completely. In the documented (recorded, filmed) material, a light ball appears instead of the face/portrait. Here the portrayed wants to stay unrecognized, undisturbed in his/her anonymity. Here emerges a new role of the portrait – it becomes the portrait of denial.


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