237130 | A2 | W5 | Task 3 Essay Topic Research

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This process helped focus my essay direction as it has redirected the main ideas I want to focus on. Previously I had been thinking I would go in more of a historical narrative direction. However, I feel like this is a bit overdone. This task helped me to think about representation of identity in a greater sense than just how self portraiture changed over time. I am very interested in the ideas surrounding how we see ourselves vs how we represent ourselves (or how we want to be seen) vs how we are seen by others.

This process helped me to understand the importance of developing contextual knowledge and intertextual relationships between visual text. I think what this task showed me was that the best way to do this is by reading a lot about background material surrounding different visual texts and searching for artists whose work explores these ideas.

I think these ideas that I am focusing on now are very relevant to my studio one (art place). My final work has developed from the idea of my mihimihi. Therefore it is in part exploring my identity. However, it has crossed my mind that my work would probably not be so obviously read by someone else as a representation of identity. I think in this way it relates to the idea of how we see ourselves vs how we are seen by other people. It is also of relevance to my art place as I have come across various artists such as Pawel Althamer whose sculpture ‘Self-Portrait as a Business Man’ greatly interested me. In many of my collages for my final piece I have obscured the faces of the subjects present, leaving only the superficial aspects, clothes, hair style, accessories, background etc visible. For me this is about being a ‘no one’ in a new city where no one knows anything about you. Their only impression about who you are as a person will be based off of your superficial appearances. It is this things, the clothes you wear, the bags and tools you carry etc that give them an idea about who you are. This related to Althamer’s sculpture as it showed the superficiality of other people’s idea of your ‘identity’ based on the way they read you as a visual text. It is therefore inevitable that there will be disparities between how you see yourself and how others see you.

Althamer, Powell. Self-Portrait as a Business Man. Jacket, trousers, dress shirt, silk tie, shoes, socks, underpants, passport, plastic cover, leather briefcase, printed papers and other materials. Tate, Liverpool.

Self-Portrait as a Businessman 2002, with additions 2004 by Pawel Althamer born 1967
Self-Portrait as a Businessman 2002, with additions 2004 Pawel Althamer born 1967 Purchased using funds provided by the 2004 Outset / Frieze Art Fair Fund to benefit the Tate Collection 2005 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T11913
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