art value 6


art value 6
4. Jahrgang 2010


Dear Readers,

The history of the self-portrait in the fine arts is the history of the self-consciousness of the artist’s personality and his profession. Like no other art form, the self-portrait lends itself to further complicating the already difficult question regarding the relationship of the portrayed and the original in eternity. In self-portraits the two enter into an irresolvable puzzle of reciprocal referencing with one another. Self-portraits are visual forms of self-referencing.
Arthur Rimbaud’s famous statement, »Je est un autre,« (»I is another«), in which he intentionally conjugated the first person verb form incorrectly, thereby combining the first and third person, does, in fact, disclose an escape from the circle of reciprocal self-referencing. It is, however, an escape into schizophrenia.

The contributors of art value 6 are well aware that they move about in such a thicket, and they face this with clear emphases on different aspects of the art form: Michael Thimann and Matthias Harder develop historical lines of orientation, while Kathleen Bühler and Fabiana Cazzola use art objects to display different ways of relinquishing the self and re-domesticating it. Dirk Boll introduces the genesis of the market mobility of the self-portrait as an art form and, in his essay, Frank Puscher illustrates contemporary strategies of self-construction and self-creation in the Internet, situated somewhere between vanity-surfing and the duped »I.«
Kuno Fischer sketches a portrait of Switzerland as having always been ›the place‹ for collectors, which is as true today as ever. Dresden, by contrast, is powerful and sovereign as a home for collections. In an interview, Martin Roth introduces us to the Dresden State Art Collections.
In this edition of art value, the curator Melanie Bono familiarizes us with the artist Natalie Czech, who arranges images using self-portrayals of others.

I wish you an intriguing read.

Your Tilman Welther


The market for art has existed as long as art itself. The artist himself did not make an appearance in painting before the Renaissance, when the concept of a professional artist emerged. While artist self-portraits before this period are rare exceptions, self-portraits by Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt display the rising self-confidence of the makers. As works by specific painters became increasingly sought after, attributions to famous names became the norm. It does not surprise that fakes were on the rise as well, considering the scarcity of images and information for research, leading to the first art experts. Van Gogh is the archetype of the artist in whose work the selfportrait plays an important role. Picasso made use of this art form as a way to establish himself as a »brand«.