LILANA PORTER, UNTITLED (SELF PORTRAIT) 1973
UNTITLED (SELF PORTRAIT with square II) 1973
Liliana Porter's Untitled, (self portrait) intrigued me. I couldn't tell what drew me into the photograph. Was it her look? A tired look of seriousness. Was it the imperfect lines drawn across her forehead, nose, and cheek that appeared to connect to the lines on the wall? A simple and somewhat strange way to connect one's self to a wall. Was it her short hair that reminded me of mine at the time? It was all of it.
I am not sure what exactly Porter is suggesting to us, but I love the simplicity of it. Its simplistic nature that still creates a complexity of 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 in power. It's like she is inviting you in, yet suggesting 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. 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 bend and the playful straight rectangle? 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 you realize that Camintzer is her husband, I wonder if Porter is insinuating It is the invisible lines that connects the two squares, which then forms a rectangle between her and her husband I find brilliant. Again I question, can two things become one? Can two people connect as one even with the invisible space or even physical space in between? Why is Camnitzer look more playful than Porter's?
It is Porter's ability to connect a wall, person, a piece of paper, and herself with a line that makes this body of work thought provoking. It leaves room for question. 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