27 Cubist Portraits

Thomas Wojciechowski

Twenty-Seven Cubist Portraits is an ongoing project begun several years ago. Each portrait is a composite of a dozen or so photographs––parts of the face in extreme closeup––which have been merged in Photoshop. Like Cubist paintings, multiple views of a face are presented simultaneously, creating a distorted visage alternately disturbing or funny or beautiful. Because our brains are hard-wired to see faces in the normal configuration, a peculiar tension is inescapable, offering viewers a vehicle for the exploration and contemplation of their own emotional response.

Each subject is merged numerous times using the same set of closeups, yet the resulting portraits vary in unpredictable and surprising ways. These have become movies. The videos present the portraits in sequence, evoking a proto-narrative. The multiplication of faces in a space, morphing at different speeds and competing for attention, seeks to engender a lived cubist experience.