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The Magician and The Surgeon; concept and curation Asmita Sarkar November 6, 2010

Posted by asmitasarkar in exhibitions and projects.

In collaboration with Limousine Bull is an artist-led space with an open membership 01224 877001

Preview: Friday 29 September 2010, 7 – 9pm
Open: Saturday 30 September and Sunday 31 September, 12 – 5pm

Asmita Sarkar and Katarzyna Slawska are two recent MA Graduates from Gray’s School of Art who will be presenting a joint weekend exhibition of portraits in painting and photographic media.

The similarity and the difference in their work is the focus of the show.

Statement for the exhibition;

Portrait paintings and portrait photographs serve the same aim; to document reality and to represent identity, but the manifold difference between these two genres reveals itself prominently.

More than half a century ago Walter Benjamin compared the painter to a magician and the photographer to a surgeon:

“The painter maintains in his work a natural distance from reality, the cameraman penetrates deeply into its web. There is a tremendous difference between the pictures they obtain. That of the painter is a total one, that of the cameraman consists of multiple fragments which are assembled under a new law.”

In this exhibition realistic portraits and invented, digitally enhanced photographs of people share the same space. Reality and invention mingle. Paintings start with magic but sometimes they come very close to real experiences. Capturing a physical resemblance to the sitter is not sufficient to make a good portrait. It has to contain an assemblage of moment and the experience of looking by the painter. On the other hand the photograph starts from reality, but thanks to digital technology it can take a new invented form, insinuating meaning and significance that are alien to the “real subject” of the photograph.

Asmita Sarkar

This exhibition, though of a collaborative nature, is mainly my concept where a classmate from our Master course, Katarzyna  has contributed her photographic portraits. These portraits go very well with some of very realistic paintings that I have produced early this year. Portraits that are expressive and that have a story can elevate art practice in a different stratum. For the moment, subtle emotional expressions like a purse in the lips and eye gaze are my point of concentration. These expressions give away a lot about someone’s personality. And they are very universal across cultures and time.

While Katarzyna was interested in applying imagery from the history of art, religion, mythology, film  or popular culture to portrait photography. Her work is aimed to evoke associations based on our common knowledge and expose the fact that our perception is determined by cultural    pre-conceptions. I found interesting similarity and contrast between her works and mine.

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