The Portrait at the Dawn of Web3, Reinventing a Genre
The exhibition explores the immemorial genre of the portrait in the digital era and the age of Internet, in the context of a self-centered society where images have become a consumer product, where the democratization of technological tools makes portraits accessible to all, notably selfies and profile pictures. How do artists reappropriate this genre today? To what extent does the face, mirror of the soul, continue to fascinate and why?
From the advent of the Web2 and the Internet users’ participation in the creation of online contents, since smartphones and selfies, and even more so today with Web3, the development of NFTs and the proliferation of profile pictures/PFP, the portrait and the self-portrait are genres that are extremely present on the Web: today, everybody has the right to exist online, to express themselves, and therefore to picture themselves there.
The portrait is no longer a genre reserved to an elite.In parallel, the image has become an essential communication tool, which often exceeds words, especially on social media, giving even more importance to the one chosen to symbolize ourselves. Users have become the creators of their own portraits: thanks to technology, it is no longer necessary to ask an artist to obtain a nice picture of ourselves.
The artist, nevertheless, continues to be interested in the face and its expressions, its emotions, its desires, its fears, and their times too.
They explore these concepts through images that represent themselves or others; their human condition.
Also through fantasized portraits, nostalgia of what was, dreams or nightmares of what will be.
These faces fascinate the public, even more than the paintings of yesteryear, because it can project itself there, find its own questionings.The beginnings of the Web3 and the rise of NFTs have finally seen a new actor emerge in the portrait genre: computer labs specialized in the creation of digital communities and profile pictures: these collectible punks, apes, cats, mangas and other stylized heads are invading the web.
Used as profile pictures on social medias, they replace the old photograph.
The loop is closed.
"The Portrait at the Dawn of Web3, Reinvention of a Genre" addresses these visages that represent no one, someone, or everyone at the same time.
Revealing a society centered on the self, the image of the face continues to be a field much explored by artists, digital and NFT artists in particular.Who am I and who do I want to be?
Elisabeth Károlyi, curator
Lady with Pomeranian