A way to share and manage lots.
The way in which we curate our personal online presence via social media has become second nature; with instantaneous taps of a button we can shoot, edit and upload our image online, for all to see. Perhaps the most interesting part of this process is what we choose to share. Furthermore, how these projections are perceived by our fellow internet following. In a modern context, the phenomenon of creating our own online sphere has, in reality, become the art of painting a self-portrait.
Thirty years ago, a young Richard Prince embarked on a project to reconfigure the confines of the traditional portrait. The artist asked friends to submit their favourite photos of themselves, from which Prince made a selection and re-photographed the original. Prince saw the concept as intriguing, stating;
‘They didn’t have to sit for their portrait. They didn’t have to make an appointment and come over and sit in front of some cyclone or in front of a neutral background or on an artist’s stool. They didn’t have to show up at all. And they wouldn’t be disappointed with the result. How could they? It wasn’t like they were giving me photos of themselves that were embarrassing.’ (R. Prince quoted in “Richard Prince: New Portraits”, Press Release: Gagosian Gallery, 9 June 2015).
Prince’s unique method saw the collaboration between artist and subject curate the perfect portrait. The process was as definite as the results it produced. This foray became the platform for Prince’s most recent body of work, which includes the present lot. Under the username RichardPrince4, the artist becomes an online voyeur to his subject. These Instagram screen shots, which are taken from the profiles of people Prince found engaging in one way or another, once again redefines the confines of portraiture. Whether viewed as a simple appropriation or a complex comment on human perception, the experience of Prince's New Portraits series is fascinating.
American • 1947
For more than three decades, Prince's universally celebrated practice has pursued the subversive strategy of appropriating commonplace imagery and themes – such as photographs of quintessential Western cowboys and "biker chicks," the front covers of nurse romance novellas, and jokes and cartoons – to deconstruct singular notions of authorship, authenticity and identity.
Starting his career as a member of the Pictures Generation in the 1970s alongside such contemporaries as Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo and Sherrie Levine, Prince is widely acknowledged as having expanded the accepted parameters of art-making with his so-called "re-photography" technique – a revolutionary appropriation strategy of photographing pre-existing images from magazine ads and presenting them as his own. Prince's practice of appropriating familiar subject matter exposes the inner mechanics of desire and power pervading the media and our cultural consciousness at large, particularly as they relate to identity and gender constructs.
London 14 October 2015 7pm