Self Portraits

French Connection, 1999

Image 1 of 13

Collection Ferens Art Gallery

Self-portraiture is the natural genre for the photobooth medium. Known as the identity machine, it is essential equipment for passport production, and self-portraits are the first and most obvious portraits to make within the booth. Rideal has created countless self-portraits, written about them and organised and shown in exhibitions of them.

Identity was the first large collective piece in black and white (Collection National Portrait Gallery) 1985, and Self-portrait Yellow, (Tate Collection) 1996, is a c-type colour enlargement of an original strip of four poses. Self-portrait Right Thumb (Museet for Fotokunst Collection, Denmark) was first shown in 1995, in New York at Michael Klein Gallery, 40, Wooster St. Vince Aletti reviewed the the show in the Village Voice.

“As Big As Life”: A gigantic Thomas Ruff portrait and two full-size double portrait by the team of Marina Abramovic and Ulay set up the theme, but the most interesting pieces here are Peter Garfield’s paired Annunciation I & II – peculiarly evocative (angry? celebratory?) images of hammers tossed into the gray clouds above a smudged skyline – and Liz Rideal’s self-portrait tour de force, an intricate whorl of photobooth shots in the shape of a huge thumbprint: fragmented identity anxiously patched together.

Identity on BBC TV Wogan show (1985)
Insight: Self-portraits