The artist then recreates the solemn expressions of the Flemish sitters – their expressions designed to convey humility, or devotion – and their delicate gestures: hands held with symbolic exactitude. The DIY and speedy nature of the making of the images is at deliberate and comic odds with the meticulous naturalism and time-consuming construction of the Flemish paintings, and the stone-faced piety of the source images is wittily undercut by the use of materials associated with bodily functions. Katchadourian’s images go further than mere one-liners, though. By drawing parallels between two divergent attitudes to the power of the portrait – the Old Master belief in its ability to generate an eternal memory, versus the contemporary ubiquity and banality of the selfshot portrait – Katchadourian’s works address the notion of time in the images we make of ourselves. The faith (that the image will survive us) is the same; nothing, in the end, has really changed.
Text by Ben Street