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Manon
Wertenbroek
Swiss Art Awards — © 2017, Manon Wertenbroek
Swiss Art Awards — © 2017, Manon Wertenbroek
Swiss Art Awards — © 2017, Manon Wertenbroek
Swiss Art Awards — © 2017, Manon Wertenbroek

Swiss Art Awards

2017

Portraits
12.06–18.06.2017
Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Photo cre­dit: BAK, Guadalupe Ruiz

Situated bet­ween intros­pec­tion and the repro­duc­tion of out­ward appea­rances, my work draws on tech­niques from both pain­ting and pho­to­gra­phy. My research cen­ters on varied modes of com­mu­ni­ca­tion bet­ween indi­vi­duals, whe­ther me rela­ting to others or others bet­ween them­selves.

In Portraits”, I am inter­es­ted in the expres­sions and ges­tures of people in my sur­roun­dings, espe­cially within contexts where phy­si­cal proxi­mity contrasts with emo­tio­nal dis­tance: par­ties, cere­mo­nies, bus com­mutes, mee­tings with old friends, etc. These situa­tions are trans­la­ted into pho­to­gra­phic pain­tings, which are visua­li­zed at the bor­der of abs­trac­tion. Composed of blurry shapes (from the screen) and sharp details (through my engra­vings) and expres­sed with an aci­dic color palette, my images attempt to trans­late the psy­cho­logy and emo­tions of the people I observe.

On a tech­ni­cal level, I begin by crea­ting my com­po­si­tions through cut­ting and engra­ving shapes into mir­ror paper. I then shine back­lit colors from a com­pu­ter screen onto the reflec­tive sur­face. This tech­nique offers me a varied range of pos­si­bi­li­ties in image and ligh­ting. Once the ins­tal­la­tion is com­plete, it is pho­to­gra­phed, a final step that allows me to join color with form.

Although the mirror’s reflec­tion is ulti­ma­tely ancho­red in my pho­to­graphs, it plays an impor­tant, sym­bo­lic role in my work. It becomes a tool for intros­pec­tion and auto­fic­tion, allo­wing for a space to invent a self image along­side other plays of iden­tity. The reflec­tive sur­face, at once fixed and fluid, des­ta­bi­lizes our vision bet­ween the real and ima­gi­ned, thus crea­ting new, pro­duc­tive pos­si­bi­li­ties.

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