Portraits & Signatures (2014)

a multimedia collaboration between Taylan Cihan & Andrew Lucia.

Hartell Gallery, Cornell University
January 21–February 21, 2014
(link to gallery site)


Portraits is a collection of iconic material and information. Each moment within the experience is an instant during a process of transformation, one that does not alter the content of the images, but rather reorders their structures. To this end, the material exhibited is predetermined and never lost; only re-organized. As time passes in the creation of Portraits, each iconic image slowly dissipates until a tipping point is reached, at which time the appearance of the original is no longer recognizable. In most instances, however, the original can still be recalled questioning not what it is we observe, rather how the quality of what we observer is ordered and identified. This project questions the authorship of an "original work," specifically asking "to what extent must a thing's structure be altered in order for it to longer be considered as such?" As no material is destroyed in this process one must now consider the role of fidelity and structure in the identity of a thing's make-up.

Portraits operates over a given duration on a custom written algorithm whose inputs are a repertoire of iconic images. At a specified interval, each individual pixel in the image is asked to query its neighbors, chose one at random, and ultimately re-appropriate the selected neighbor’s quality (note: quality here pertains to both spatial and historic characteristics and is not merely a numeric color value). The algorithm runs indefinitely, but is calibrated to the duration of exhibition.

Works in premier exhibition:

Series after [no title] by Warhol, 1972 & after [no title] by Warhol, 1967 (2014)
digital print on backlit canvas, 280" x 80"

after Rembrandt Self-Portrait, 1695 (2014)
digital algorithm, 819 x 1080 pixels

after Albrecht Dürer Self-Portrait, 1500 (2014)
digital algorithm, 775 x 1080 pixels

after The Head of Christ by Vittorio Bianchini, 18th Century (2014)
projected digital algorithm, 53-1/2" x 73"

after Christos Acheiropoietos, 12th Century (2014)
projected digital algorithm, 67-1/2" x 73"

after an Icon of Christ Pantokrator, 13th Century (2014)
projected digital algorithm, 49-1/2" x 73"

after Chuck Close, Big Self-Portrait, 1967-1968 (2014)
projected digital algorithm, 82-1/2" x 106"

after Andy Warhol Self-Portrait, 1986 (2014)
projected digital algorithm, 80" x 80"

Three Studies after For the Love of God by Damien Hirst, 2007 (2014)
projected digital algorithm, 3 at 49" x 83"

after Michael Jackson Portrait (2014)
projected digital algorithm, 62" x 90"