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Beth Collar and Lukas Schmenger at Lady Helen, London

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Notes towards a Perception of Portrait

In 2007 Helen Mirren won an Oscar for her impersonation of Queen Elizabeth II. In her acceptance speech she paid tribute to the monarch. “For more than 50 years”, Mirren said, “she has maintained her dignity, her sense of duty, and her hairstyle.” The profile portrait of Elizabeth on British coins and postage stamps has been cautiously updated four times during her reign, but its essential features— including that hairdo, perfectly styled to work with a crown or a hat—remain a timeless embodiment of courage and consistency.

The profile portraits on stamps, coins and medals are conventionally associated with authority. Forward looking, self-contained. A tribute. Embossed for eternity. No gaze revealed. Analytical rather than psychological. An excessively circulated and multiplied portrait of our time is the selfie, commonly a front view. Ephemeral and inconsistent these self-portraits smoothen and adjust our faces using filters, vignettes and other applications. We are also invited to wear a crown, a hat, bunny ears or a flag face. Cute? A colourful variety of simulated masks. Fun games that strip us of our flaws and eventually our individuality. A risk we are happy to take.

In the awkward search for a self(-portrait), digging through layers of matter. Adding. Taking away. Confronted with unflattering versions of selves and others. An itchy feeling of inadequacy and intimacy. Templates of gender, social status and other determinations roll by one after another, filed. Each one of them an offer and a dictate. Stumbling over inverted apostrophes and logs. Is there any space for screamish grimaces and frazzled, knackered women?

— Josefine Reisch


Lady Helen

'Discounts' by Egon Van Herreweghe at CONVENT, Ghent

'Never Early but Always On Time', Group Show at Apartment 13, Providence

'Daybreak' by Elisa Barrera at Lucas Hirsch, Dusseldorf

'Hat Box' by Julie Malen at Catbox Contemporary, New York

'19742 Ceremony' by Dishon Yuldash at Daipyat, Voronezh

'STILL MAGIC', Group Show at Redkie Iskusstva, Saint-Petersburg

'Methods for Regional Stewardship' by Will Bruno at Smart Objects, Los Angeles

'In Flames' by Inside Job at Lily Robert, Paris

'Spas Setun Dystopian Party Collection', Group Show at Spas Setun, Moscow

Money Gallery at BIENVENUE ART FAIR, Hotel La Lousiane, Paris

'Ok boomer', Group Show at Plague Space, Krasnodar

Greg Meza at ANDNOW/​WAREHOUSE, Dallas

'Von der schenkenden Tugend', Group Show at Zarinbal Khoshbakht, Cologne

Matthew Peers, Max Ruf at Lady Helen, Berlin

'Green changed to white, emerald to opal, nothing was changed' by Vadim Murin at

Chamber Realm at Dungeon, Detroit

'Bomba de humo (cloud point)' by Matias Solar at Relaciones Públicas, Mexico City

'Nocturne No. 1' by Brian Oakes at Mery Gates, New York

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