LILANA PORTER, UNTITLED (SELF PORTRAIT) 1973
UNTITLED (SELF PORTRAIT with square II) 1973
Liliana Porter's Untitled, (self portrait) intrigued me. What about this photograph caught, and kept my attention? Was it the woman's look? A look that appeared tired and serious? Was it the imperfect lines drawn across her forehead, nose, and cheek that connects to the lines on the wall? It felt like a simple and somewhat strange, way to connect one's self to a wall. It almost made since for this woman to attach herself to that wall with those lines. Maybe I saw her and saw me. Her short hair looking somewhat similar to mine at that time and the tiredness I felt inside.
I love the simplistic nature of this photograph. It creates complex layers, like the look on her face, the tilted line, the connection of two things. Porter has managed to show some vulnerability that still feels composed or like she's still in power. It's like she is inviting you in, but also warning you to maintain distance. It's a look that leaves you wanting more.
I also love how Porter connects two things, the wall and herself with six imperfect lines. It makes me the question the time it takes for two things to become one or to go further, the time it takes for two things to connect and still stand alone. How can two things connect? Are a few lines enough? I love how her hair becomes an invisible line connecting her head to the wall, creating a curve in the rectangle. It creates an illusion that the rectangle is moving. Moving towards her or away from her?
Does this even matter?
UNTITLED (CAMNITZER-PORTER) 1973
Then there is Untitled (self portrait square II). Unlike the first photograph, Porter gives us a more playful look. Her head and eyes turn away from the camera and her bended rectangle becomes a straighter one. Is there a connection between the serious bended rectangle and the more playful straight one? Why do the lines appear straighter on the wall than her face? Why connect yourself to a wall?
Then we see Porter connecting herself to a human rather than a wall, in Untitled (Camnitzer-Porter). What is the relationship between these two people? Once I realized that Camintzer is her husband, I wondered what the two invisible lines between her and her husband symbolized. Again I question, can two things become one? Can two people still connect into one even with the invisible space or physical space in between? Why is Camnitzer look more playful than Porter's?
It is Porter's ability to connect a wall to herself and another person to herself with some lines that makes this body of work thought provoking. It leaves room for your mind to roam. It doesn't seem as important to answer the questions that arise, but more so to simply ask them. It causes me to question how I can make a visible connection to myself, people, and objects. Aside from Porter, who really knows what this series mean, but it sure is fun to look at and attempt to figure it out.
See more works from Liliana Porter here