The Portrait Anatomised

Aldworth, Susan (2013) The Portrait Anatomised. UNSPECIFIED.

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The Portrait Anatomised is a suite of five lenticular prints and forty-five mono-prints, exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in 2013, with an accompanying catalogue. Aldworth was commissioned by Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Charity in 2009 to make a series of works exploring epilepsy. The research dimension of Aldworth’s project was the production of novel modes of expressing visually the experience of living with the disorder. Based as artist-in-residence in the neurophysiology department at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, Aldworth met with three patients, each with a different type of epilepsy. Weaving together their neuroscientific, clinical, and personal narratives revealed two aspects of the patients’ experience: (1) that they saw their epileptic seizures as an aspect of a more complex personality; and (2) the lack of visual representation of the ‘absences’ that characterize how epilepsy occurs in patients’ experience. In response to (1), Aldworth created portraits of her three correspondents by tiling together nine monotype prints to suggest the complexity of human personality. As regards (2), visual representations of the disorder tend to be confined either to EEGs (electroencephalographic modes of recording electrical activity) or to witnessing a person having an epileptic seizure. These represent physical manifestations of the epilepsy but leave unaddressed the subjective feel of the ‘absences’. In response, Aldwoth adopted the ‘now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t’ property of lenticulars to create pictures of absence. The lenticulars were part of an exhibition at the Key of Life Festival, Scheltema Contemporary Gallery, Leiden, Netherlands, 2010. The lenticulars are now permanently installed at St Thomas’s Hospital, London. Aldworth recounted her production of the portraits in an edition of BBC Radio 3’s programme Between the Ears, entitled Anatomising a Portrait: An Epileptic Journey, broadcast on 21 May 2011. Dissemination is ongoing.

Item Type: Other
Additional Information: Citation: Aldworth, S. The Portrait Anatomised.
Uncontrolled Keywords: art, anatomy, epilepsy, identity, public engagement with medicine, print making
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NE Print media
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Institutes and Academies > Wales Institute for Science & Art (WISA) > Academic Discipline: Art & Media
Related URLs:
Depositing User: John Dalling
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2013 15:57
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2020 13:43

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