Wodiczko presented the
Self-Portrait during his first individual exhibition at the Foksal Gallery in 1973. It consisted of a rectangular mirror laid out on a small plinth, with a pane of glass bearing a photographic image of the artist next to one of its shorter sides. On entering the room, spectators would see the artist’s back. Moving further into the gallery, they were able to see his head, hung in repentance and shame, reflected in the mirror. Anyone looking at the Self-Portrait could also lower their head to contemplate themselves in the mirror. They needed to lean over in order to see their own reflection, thus assuming the same narcissistic position of penance that the artist had. Wodiczko’s piece criticises the narcissism, “egocentrism” and solipsism of art locked away in galleries, detached from reality and withdrawn from the public eye. He emphasises the feeling of shame associated with being in such places.
Medium: mirror, wooden panel, photograph, lambda, plexiglass
Ownership form: collection Source: Fundacja Profile Index: MSN: 4300-11/2009 Acquisition date: Nov 27, 2009 Financing source: Purchased with the support of Ministry of Culture and National Heritage