In the Eye of the Beholder
“At one end of the spectrum, photographs are objective data; at the other end, they are items of psychological science fiction.”
– Susan Sontag
This quote addresses the two-fold properties of a photograph: as a document of what is depicted, and equally an expression of the creator’s innermost being. The collection presentation In the Eye of the Beholder consists for the main part of photographic portraits, but also drawings, sculptures, and moving images of depictions—portraits if you will—based on different ways of beholding. We see examples of introspective and psychologically probing self-portraits; depictions that disclose an intimacy and mutual trust between artist and subject; and even inquisitive and voyeuristic observations of individuals and their contexts from a critical distance.
The act of beholding can be expressed in various ways and can involve conflicting emotions and perspectives. To regard someone in actuality is to confirm their existence; therefore, the intention behind this act is presumably sprung from some sense of curiosity or interest in the person regarded. Nonetheless, an observant gaze can be experienced as exposing and intrusive if it steps over a (sometimes indeterminate) boundary.
How we observe ourselves and others is therefore a complex question that in our times daily compels us to take a stand on. The works in this exhibition have arisen out of countless driving forces and divergent contexts. What they all share is the exploration of oneself and others. The act of beholding, initially a tool of the artist, is now delegated to the eye of the museum visitor – the beholder next down the line.