De Thomas Mcintosh installation 2014
Autoportrait considers aspects of representation and the act of seeing by reimagining, in three dimensions, Diego Velázquez’s painting Las Meninas in the light of Michel Foucault’s analysis in his book The Order of Things. The central element of the work is a vertical curtain of oil paint flowing with such uninterrupted constancy that it acts as a mirror, like an upended body of still water. Reflected in the pool’s surface is the viewer herself, bathed in light, her image immediately implicating her in the work’s creation. As she approaches the liquid mirror, it slowly moves to reveal a second face: that of the author of the present work. The evocation of Las Meninas re-introduces, in a newly mediated form, the zone of the spectator. It is the explicit inclusion of this space in Velázquez’s work that permanently destabilizes it, opening the canvas beyond its two dimensions into the space in which the viewer stands. When we look at Velázquez as he represented himself in Las Meninas, he looks back at us. He is in the act of painting and we assume that the figures he paints are those reflected in the mirror at the back of the room: the King and Queen of Spain. However, we too are standing before him and so it would appear that he is also painting us. The painter himself also once stood in this same spot, as he organized this complex system of signs and their doubles in the composition we see before us. Autoportrait is a reimagining of Las Meninas: the small mirror at the back of painting’s room has been magnified, it has become the liquid mirror at which we gaze and in it we see ourselves gazing back at our gaze. It is as though Velázquez’s easel has been turned at last and we see what he is seeing: not the King and Queen of Spain, but rather both ourselves and the artist in the act of seeing.
Claude Perdigou, Institut Jean le Rond d’Alembert de l’Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Henri Lhuissier, Université Paris Diderot, Philippe Brunet.
Équipe technique : Concept, design et construction : Thomas McIntosh Programmation et système d’intégration : Ken Campbell Assistant de production : Laurent Delplanque
Produit par Le Fresnoy - Studio national avec le soutien du Conseil des Arts du Canada
Oeuvre de Thomas Mcintosh produite par Le Fresnoy :