Defacement

Patrick Foran's avatar Patrick Foran

This series of large scale charcoal drawings reexamines the idea of “portraiture” in the context of war, political upheaval, health epidemics, nationalist expansion, and the asymmetrical distribution networks of mass media. The face is a sociological and, increasingly, a technological production. It is a topography that hovers above the head, literally a sur-face ("above appearance") onto which many forms of representation can be projected. In this way, the face emerges as a contested site of political meaning: the subjectification of the individual and the objectification of the subject. It has been instrumentalized, an apparatus by which to exercise authority, recognition-control, and sovereignty. These images are not masked or concealed faces; they represent the production of a new face under the domain of a specific semiotic regime. They are mobilized as instruments in the service of the military, the CDC, the space program. The portraits have been rendered featureless, their points of identification excised, but in essence all representations disseminated through the media have been "defaced," deployed as propaganda for other symbolic orders. Within this system there is potential for deconstructing the facelessness of portraiture and articulating an aesthetic of the unrepresentable, to demonstrate the incommensurability of the face with whatever it is claimed to represent.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 2-D
  • Depth:
  • Medium: Charcoal on paper
  • Width: 45 to 55 inches
  • Year created: 2015
  • Height: 60 inches