Friday, 23 October 2015


Self Portraits by Significant Artists of the Twentieth Century

Sir Peter Blake. Portrait with Badges 1961. 

The artist was twenty nine years of age when this portrait was painted. the artist's stance and demeanour suggests  much greater age. Stood in a dank suburban garden his garish clothes, badges and fan magazine suggest youth, and the trash aesthetic of American popular culture, delineating the gap between his direct post war English experience and the plastic excitement of immediately inaccessible fashions and styles tantalising glimpsed via film and radio.

Andy Warhol, Self Portrait, Strangulation. 1978

Andy Warhol, leading light of the American Pop Art movement, was fond of cheap, disposable imagery and methodology; Screen prints and later polaroid photography were central to his creative process. By presenting himself and is work as a consumable commodity, Warhol played on the consumerist obsession of modern American society. Whilst he is best remembered for his images of soup cans and celebrities, multiple images of car crashes and electric chairs indicate a darker, paranoid Andy. In this image from 1978 the artist gives us six multi-coloured self portraits stacked up like soup cans depicting his own apparent strangulation. Simultaneously the work is both trashy and bleak, grave and trivial; a portrait about waning creativity, consumerism and death.

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