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Museum of modern art arnhem

Spiegeloog: from 03.10.2015 till 24.01.2016.

With Carel Willink, Dick Ket, Piet Mondriaan, Charley en Jan Toorop, Erwin Olaf, Marlene Dumas, Levi van Veluw, Rineke Dijkstra, Mark Manders and many others.

What makes the self-portrait so popular? What does it say about the artist? Does an artist use a self-portrait to offer an insight into his inner self? In the exhibition The Mirrored Eye, Museum Arnhem presents the self-portrait, a genre that has been part of the visual arts for centuries. Besides self-portraits by neo-realists and contemporary artists from the Museum’s collection, important loans are displayed that show the evolution of this genre from the early 20th century to the present.

The motives for creating a self-portrait vary: sometimes they are commissions, sometimes study material, a cause for self-examination, or a way to experiment with different styles. A self-portrait captures a moment in time and allows an artist to show the viewer how he or she sees him or herself, but most of all, how he or she wants to be seen. The genre has not only developed considerably over time, but artists of the same generation also approach self-portraits in entirely different ways.

The exhibition With over 100 paintings, drawings, photographic and video works and installations, The Mirrored Eye charts the rich history of this development. The exhibition and accompanying publication (in Dutch) focus on major developments during the 20th century, such as the acknowledgement of the subconscious and the disappearance of recognisable forms. During the second half of the 20th century the self-portrait was used in conceptual and feminist art and in performance art to raise political and other social issues. The genre was increasingly linked to issues of gender and ethnic identity.