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Nina Katchadourian is brilliant! I’m so lucky to have seen her sparkling exhibition in Stanford! She has many great concepts, but one of my favorites was her “Lavatory Self Portraits in the Flemish Style”. Her writing about this concept:   “While in the lavatory on a domestic flight in January 2011, I spontaneously put a tissue-paper […]

Nina Katchadourian is brilliant! I’m so lucky to have seen her sparkling exhibition in Stanford! She has many great concepts, but one of my favorites was her “Lavatory Self Portraits in the Flemish Style”. Her writing about this concept:

 

“While in the lavatory on a domestic flight in January 2011, I spontaneously put a tissue-paper toilet seat cover over my head and took a picture in the mirror using my cell phone. The image evoked 15th-century Flemish portraiture, and I decided to make more images in this mode. Faced with an upcoming exhibition for a museum in New Zeland, I challenged myself to produce the entire show on the 20-hour trip from New York to Dunedin, guessing that there were likely to be long periods of time when no one was using the lavatory. I made several forays to the bathroom from aisle seat, and by the time we landed, I had a large group of new photographs. The 14-hour return leg between San Francisco and Auckland ultimately yielded a show’s worth of photographs, including the rest of series I now call Lavatory Self_Portraits in the Flemish Style. I was wearing a thin, black scarf that sometimes hung up on the wall behind me to create the deep black background that is typical of these paintings. An orange shawl that I use as a travel blanket came in handy, as well. There is no special illumination in use other than lavatory’s own lights, and all the images are shot hand-held with my camera phone.

People have sometimes referred to these as “selfies”, but in fact, I’m trying to be anyone of myself, leaving my specific self behind in service of assuming the identity of an array of historical types. ”
Nina Katchadourian

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