Hall of Mirrors : Photographs and Faces

16. June 2001 to 12. August 2001

Hall of Mirrors : Photographs and Faces

Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, showed an exhibition subtitled Photographs and Faces. The exhibition focussed on the relationship between faces and different ways of seeing.

The face constitutes the most significant point of entry to each individual. This is where most of the senses are to be found, and it is therefore the part of us with which we meet the world around us most intensively. It is also the part of our body where the thoughts, feelings and entire life story of each individual are inscribed most clearly and consequently where others, to a large extent, can read them.

A portrait photograph is like a kind of mirror which we use unconsciously to stage our expression. But at the same time the photographer is an active and interpreting contributor who adds his reaction to and reading of the face by his choice of angle, aperture and lighting. A portrait photograph is therefore the result of a meeting, face-to-face, as it were, between two people, of which one is searching for the other's inner being.

Photographs and Faces was shown at the same time as the exhibition Moment of Truth with Cindy Sherman's staged portraits. Both obviously shared a joint preoccupation with identity, the big question of modernity, but their explorations moved in different directions. One exhibition showed how the photographers have recorded people the way they really looked at that very moment, at that particular point of their lives, whereas the other exhibition showed a person in constantly changing disguises, thus giving an ironic twist to the truthfulness of the title of the exhibition.

Photographs and Faces included some 70 works by 45 artists, ranging from famous portraits by Diane Arbus, William Eggleston and Christer Strömholm, to works by relatively unknown photographers. There was portraits of well-known people such as Karen Blixen and Svend Wiig Hansen; but you could also meet people who are totally anonymous and whose lives the portraits seemed to offer a glimpse of — or at least they created a wish in the spectator to know more about the persons.

A catalogue was published in connection with the exhibition, including an article by Bent Fausing, senior lecturer at the University of Copenhagen, entitled Ansigtet er mennesket (The Face is the Person).

Participating artists : Dieter Appelt, Diane Arbus, Anders Askegaard, Stefan Bremer, Imogen Cunningham, Beth Yarnelle Edwards, William Eggleston, Torben Eskerod, Herman Försterlin, Palle From, Flor Garduno, Philippe Halsmann, Fritz Henle, Per Bak Jensen, Jørgen Johansson, Markus Jokela, Jan Kaila, Victor Kalenik, Sergey Kozhemyakin, Juris Krievins, Xavier Lambours, Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Sandra Moss, Rigmor Mydtskov, Mario Cravo Neto, Gregers Nielsen, Rie Nissen, Rita Ostrovskaya, Martin Parr, Poul Pedersen, Thomas Pedersen, Irving Penn, Tage Poulsen, Sten Møller Rasmussen, Jytte Rex, Viggo Rivad, Igor Savchenko, Pedro Slim, Christer Strömholm, Antanas Sutkus, Bert Teunissen, Finn Thrane, Heinrich Tönnies and Annet van der Voort.