London exhibition elevates selfies as an art form


A gallery assistant poses for a photograph during a press day to promote the upcoming exhibition ‘From Selfie to Self-Expression’ at the Saatchi Gallery in London, Britain March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

London’s Saatchi Gallery opens on Friday as the world’s first exhibition looking at the history of selfies.

It kicks off with Rembrandt, the 17th century Dutch artist whose dozens of self-portraits created an intimate autobiography with confident brushstrokes. His paintings are represented on digital screens that one can “like”, resulting in a red heart appearing over the image – just as on social media.

Saatchi gallery chief executive Nigel Hurst said modern-day selfies are different. In the digital age, the selfie has become ubiquitous.

“It’s how we would like the world to see us rather than how we are and who we are. It’s more to do with our social circumstances, our social standing, how we would like people to see us in an ideal world,” he said.

Selfie competition participant, Felicia Hodoroaba-Simion said, “I think, too much selfie can hurt but it’s ok to… If it is a means of questioning your own identity, then ok you can do it but if it’s a way to showcase yourself to people.”

Running to the end of May, the exhibition includes selfies by soccer player David Beckham and reality TV star Kim Kardashian, and even the first selfie shot by an animal (a monkey).

It also presents artworks inspired by selfies.

English artist Alison Jackson stages lookalike celebrities such as Britain’s Queen Elizabeth or U.S. president Donald Trump in imaginary scenes.

The exhibition concludes with a critical stance on selfies, with an installation by Mexican artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Polish artist Krzysztof Wodiczko of 12 surveillance cameras.

“Selfie is not an option, it’s something that somehow dissolves our identity for good but mostly for bad; creating a controlling society,” said Lozano- Hemmer. — Jovic Bermas | UNTV News and Rescue

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