Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge was welcomed to Turner Contemporary yesterday on a visit which saw her introduced to Victoria Pomery OBE, Director of Turner Contemporary as well as the artists Trish Morrisey, John Davies and Gavin Turk, whose self-portraits are on display, as part of the new exhibition ‘Self: Image and Identity’.
The current exhibition explores a world where ‘selfies’ have become everyday expressions and ‘Britishness’ is being redefined, what is the role of self-portraiture and how has it shifted through the history of art to the present day. In this new exhibition, Turner Contemporary becomes a frame through which self-portraiture is re-evaluated in the 21st century, sparking conversations on history, celebrity, collecting, gender, mortality and contemporary approaches. Artists have been recreating their own image for centuries. From self-advertisement and preserving legacy, to figurative studies, political commentary and biographical exploration self-representation, has shaped Western art.
The exhibition reflects on artists’ self-portraits from Sir Anthony van Dyck’s last Self-portrait of 1640-1, recently saved for the nation, to Louise Bourgeois. Over 100 works, most of which are from the National Portrait Gallery London, are brought together for an expansive look at the artists’ self. Historical and contemporary artists sit side by side, including Sir Anthony van Dyck, Mary Beale, Louise Bourgeois, John Constable, Tracey Emin, Jason Evans, Lucian Freud, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Angelica Kauffmann, Sarah Lucas, Gillian Wearing, Yinka Shonibare MBE, JMW Turner and Andy Warhol.
The Duchess of Cambridge also met seven local young women, who were able to provide a practical demonstration of their current project Mirroring Dialogic Portraits. Imitating the painting process of artist-in-residence Felicity Allen, the group discussed issues facing women working within the arts whilst painting portraits of each other. After visiting Turner Contemporary, the Duchess of Cambridge went onto visit Resort Studios in Cliftonville.
Photo: Manu Palomeque courtesy Turner Contemporary