Long known for his digital re-interpretations of classical European landscape painting, Milan-based Davide Coltro here focuses his eye and technical prowess on the genre of portraiture.
The idea of the portrait has for millennia offered a permanent record of a single human life on Earth, as well as an archetype of its subject's uniqueness among humans, of his or her separateness (and presumed specialness) in relation to all others across time and space. Yet perhaps paradoxically, portraiture as a genre has flourished in virtually every human society and culture across the globe throughout history, representing a universal - and unifying expression of humanity that transcends time and space.
In this latest body of work, Coltro probes both the physical and existential aspects of this paradox. He has systematically created a digital archive comprising several hundred portraits produced by an ordinary office photocopier. He then streams a selection of these images to a self-designed digital receiving device and HD screen, called a modulo , that silently combines and displays the portraits in random combinations and choices of color, one face blending into the next, each visage entering, lingering in, and finally exiting the frame as another emerges to take its place. Complementing the modulo are 100 archival, photo-etched prints of the photocopied images it contains, each print packaged separately and presented apart from its cohorts.
Viewed in tandem, the randomly generated, constantly morphing faces in the modulo , and the array of individual printed portraits, combine to illuminate both the timelessness and the impermanence of the portrait/subject, as well as with the viewer's own status as a discrete, ephemeral presence that nonetheless is an indelible and necessary part of a unified special and temporal whole.
April 1 - May 15, 2010