Face and identity

April 8 - October 8, 2017

- a FACE art exhibition

This exhibition can be experienced as an artistic investigation of our face being unfolded by contemporary artists and with art historical documentary references. Art work created by a number of visual artists from different countries as well as from DK form the contemporary dimension and a handful of short mediation films form the art historical dimension. 

All human beings have a face and an identity. And throughout the history of art the face always played a central part, especially in portraiture. This derives from the idea that from the face especially we can read something about identity and inner life of a person. And in this way that visual art possibly can do the same and also being able to create a constructed narrative about the identity of the portrayed.   

In a way the face is like a membrane between the minds of two people. Constantly it signals to the outer world. At the same time one doesn’t see one owns face, except from in the mirror. I for visual artist it is extremely interesting to investigate the face in their general urge to understand the human being an existence.  The artists however focus on different aspects of the face and this manifold field of research cam also be experienced in this exhibition. 

Swedish Nils Ramhöj did in a comprehensive series of art work investigate, who gradually loss of life in death process is reflected in and marks the outer physical face. He named this series ”Portraits of a father” and it consists of paintings in mixed media and water colours.

American Tony Oursler has throughout his whole artistic career been researching and investigating especially the notion of the face. Again and again his works circles around it, cuts away the superfluous and isolate single traits so they stand out detached form the communication we know, often with the means of video works that have an alarming impact on the spectator. In this exhibition one will see his works ”Open Obscura”, ”Apy” og ”Boss”.

Danish Ulla Diedrichsen also continuously worked with the face, but in another aspect and way. Again and again the self-portrait – this specific genre in portraiture – had a central role. In this exhibition she is represented with a selection of photographic works, tied together by a focus on the human as well as the artist’s own scream and the video work ‘Zwi-Zones’.      

An opposite lead is follow by Danish artist Peter Bottger, who in his installation ”Citizens in Washington DC” focus on the faces of the other one. With the use of rubber he creates a feeling of skin and anonymous people get a visibility and a concrete presence with his 1:1 castings.  

Croatian Andreja Kuluncic often involves audiences directly in her art work and this is also the case in this exhibition in Silkeborg. Typically her concern has something to do with contemporary ethical matters and she encourages the spectator to reflect.  

Two very different artists work with drawing. One is Danish Carl Krull (also youngest artist represented), who in a series of large pencil drawings examines how much or how little information we need to recognize a face and the mood of the person behind. The other is the French artist Patrick Tresset, who with a portrait-drawing-robot discusses the notion of the artist possessing a special genius and ‘handwriting’. 

Curated by Faye Dowling and Sergei Sviatchenko, the section ‘Dreams’ presents a photographic imagery from emerging artists combining photography and collage. In our self-reflective culture the photographic portrait has become ever more prevalent as a marker of our communication and understanding, of our-selves and each other. Expanding from its historic traditions, today’s contemporary portrait has become less about the exterior appearance, than a window to the interior consciousness that lies beyond.  Moving beyond surface representation, these artists use photographic portraiture to explore the modern representations of identity. Their multi-faceted portraits reveal a dreamscape of memories, fantasies, emotions and sensations, inviting the viewer to seek untold stories, and hold a mirror up to ourselves in our shape-shifting universe.


Face and Identity – a FACE-art exhibition is on show April 8 – October 8, 2017.

An anthology/catalogue has been published.

For educational purpose an inspiration material has been compiled. Look here


FACE is a series of thematic events about the communication of faces and their relation to identity. The project will take place during 2017 and consist of exciting and international themed exhibitions, art exhibits, talks, shows, events and workshops in the cultural institutions. Hosted and coordinated by: Museum Silkeborg, Museum Jorn, Silkeborg Public Library, Jysk Musikteater, AQUA and Art Centre Silkeborg Bad. FACE is supported by Silkeborg Municipality, Jyske Bank, Knud Højgaards Fond and Aarhus 2017.  

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