Perhaps no other artist has been as preoccupied with his own likeness as Andy Warhol, so much so that his own Self-Portrait constitutes a very significant body of his work, the subject of many museum and gallery exhibitions and never-ending fascination with this inscrutable and elusive figure. Warhol first silkscreened his own image based on a photomat strip in 1963 and continued to return to the subject throughout his life, culminating in the famous “Fright-Wig” image. The Polaroid photograph was a vital element to Warhol’s celebrity portraiture and to his self-portraiture. Van de Weghe Fine Art is pleased to present an exhibition of over 25 Warhol Self-Portrait Polaroids, dating from the late ‘70s through 1986.
Warhol began using the Polaroid as a medium in the early ‘70s. The artist is known to have favored the Polaroid Big Shot, designed specifically for portraiture with a fixed focal range of about 3 feet and a single shutter speed mechanically timed with a flash diffuser. All but one of the works in the present exhibition, a seldom-seen “giant” Polaroid, were shot with the SX-70 Big Shot. The choice of the Polaroid as a medium is of special significance for Warhol, moderator of the hand-made – readymade dialogue that runs through the 20th century and into the 21st. A Polaroid is, of course, a unique work of art created by means of mechanical reproduction. It was the peoples’ camera providing instant gratification. The unmitigated Polaroid image serially gives rise an unmistakable signature style. Perfect for Warhol.
While the Polaroids form the basis for highly celebrated and sought-after canvases, they are an important body of work in their own right, profoundly illustrating some of the critical aspects at the center of Warhol’s work.
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