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Echoes_Roland Szabó: Portraits of L1 Association (a photography exhibition) by Zsuzsanna Komjáthy

Plural faces
I have a book at home. In fact, I have several books at home. But the book I think of is about famous portrait photos of fabulous actors and rock stars. As the editor (Fergus Greer) of the album notices in the introduction, „portrait photography is maybe the sexiest genre within photography”, since it is embedded in the field of intimacy. The photographer has to break through the subject’s boundaries to accomplish his task and find the man behind the artist, or, from another point of view, to find the man through his/her proper poses. Even if it is not at all easy to concentrate the deep core of someone’s identity into a photo, it is always a fruitful and interesting venture.
This is indeed the case with the exhibition of Roland Szabó (during the Performing V4 – Biennal of VARP-PA Residents in Prague, in the Ballassi Institute), whose portraits are made of the artists and residents of L1 Association. To catch a kind of redundancy underneath the surface of the faces and gestures of the artists, Szabó applies the form of image pairs. The first picture, a neutral, ordinary one (a simple portrait), is paired with a near photo that has emerged exactly from the personality of the subject of the portrait. Because of this duality, we can interpret the photos as playful dances between the inner world of the represented subjectivities and the outside environment.
On the other hand, the duality of the photographs points to the plural nature of one’s face. Everyone has several faces and masks with poetic, metaphorical or metonymical meanings, that necessary peel off from one’s skull at a certain point of life, just to leave blank, empty spaces behind them. And what is this blank space if not the redundancy itself that a good portrait photographer has to catch? The unique and inalienable space that is measured with evanescence and that is fertilized with the present moment.
Zsuzsanna Komjáthy – KÖM by L1 Association

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