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  • Writer's pictureChiara

Unexpected

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Playing with the tonal values of my self-portrait led to an unexpected identification with Nan Goldin's work. Conceptual links were already present in terms of self-portraiture and the narrative of trauma, however I was surprised by the unintended visual similarities. Rather than let it go, I decided to pursue the possibilities offered by juxtaposing, or rather superimposing her work and mine.

Here is my first attempt. Cropping each image enabled me to align the left eyes of the two faces. This is the eye where the darker tones had first struck me as reminiscent of Goldin's work. A limited amount of photo-editing obscured a duplicated right eye and displaced the bruising from Goldin's right eye into place on my self-portrait I also repositioned the curve of Goldin's left cheek. For the remainder I allowed the two images to echo, reinforce and contradict one another by adjusting transparency.


I find the result disturbing. It is more overt about physical trauma than anything I have done previously. Linking my work with Goldin's hints at the complexity of autobiographical narrative for which she is known.


This work opens up a range of possibilities for further exploration. They may need to be the subject of a project of their own. I came back to this work at the end of semester to complete a series of three self-portraits in this manner.

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