RITRATTI DI GIOVANI UOMINI E GIOVANI DONNE
In Ritratti di giovani uomini e giovani donne (“Portraits of young men and young women”), Simone Schiesari raises questions on the issues of “reality” of the human face, on appearance, and on how our idea of “representation” is relative.
Schiesari searched through art history books and on-line archives of major museums for a number of youthful faces, belonging to paintings dating from the Renaissance to the Nineteenth century (before the invention of photography). He then isolated them from their iconographic context and subjected them to a subtle digital intervention to eliminate the physical texture of paint, the crackings of underlying canvas and the traces of typographic printing. He made them into something similar to photographs or, rather, into technological images, thus achieving a sort of anthropological sample collection, as if these were subjects to be studied and stored, one after another, perhaps indefinitely. We are in front of identities whose indefinite origins we know nothing about: who they were, whether they actually posed, when they lived, if they existed at all.
The operation of regeneration accomplished by Simone Schiesari exposes our difficulty in retracing the origins of the images that surround us in this contemporary world, where it is hard to be able to read all the faces arising from history and from mass society, subjected as they are to endless reproduction and multiplication processing. Each young face appears in its particular uniqueness and individuality, wrapped in an enigmatic melancholy. But every face today is first and foremost an image in which anthropology takes physically and virtually place. This technological reproducing and transcribing speaks volumes of the inaccessibility of human physiognomy and of how relative and uncertain representation has been, yesterday as well as today.