Harris Self-Portraits by Proxy 3, 4, 6 & 7
24 June - 1 August 2009
Wednesday 24 June, 6pm - 8pm
"All I can do is be me, whoever that is."
Mummery + Schnelle are pleased to present the latest installment
of Peter Harris's extended project Self-Portraits by Proxy
, begun in 1998. Harris's work plumbs what an artist is
and has to be in order to survive. The materials he works from
are those of mass culture - the mediated stuff of economies
driven by fame and fortune, success, failure and anonymity.
His collaborations function as a means of self-reflection on
the status of the individual, the artist and the object as a
hybridized cultural product. Increasingly, questions of identity
in Harris's work and practice have been supplanted by the concept
of staging the Self through actions performed. Instability
here is exalted along with the perpetual mobility of the subject.
Starting as a series that used performance and collaboration
to extend the possibilities of his painting practice and to
map the influences in the formation of the artist's self, Harris
has continued to expand the project in scope to explore a precarious
mode of subjectivity characterized by multiple and shifting
identifications shaped by our moment of culture and economy.
The latest installment will comprise Self-Portraits by Proxy
Nos. 3, 4, 6 & 7 - works in video and photography
which bridge the decade from the project's inception.
Self-Portraits by Proxy No. 3 , 2002
Harris depicts himself playing the Rizla game in which a paper
with a name on it is pasted on his forehead and he has to guess
who he is by asking questions of his audience. Presenting a
party game in a gallery context, Harris asks: is our sense of
identity fixed, or is it something built upon our socio-cultural
situation and the questions forced upon us?
by Proxy No. 4 , 2002
Making those around him directly complicit in his work, in this
video piece Harris re-voices everything that the art world 'experts'
have ever written about him and his work.
by Proxy No. 6, 2009
"There is a play with
what is authentic and real. In a sense the video is a 'readymade'
self . The snippets are twisted and taken out of their
original context to tell Peter Harris's story. I am open and
closed at the same time. The mask I'm wearing is inverted to
both reveal and disguise what is beneath. The whole thing is
a pose, but a real pose."
- P. H.
Self-Portraits by Proxy No.
7 , 2009
A companion piece to No. 4 , in this video Harris reads
out all the comments written in his visitors' books and shows
us what the 'the general public' thinks. By reading these words
in a flat inexpressive manner the 'Peter Harris' spoken
about becomes distanced from the 'Peter Harris' reading them.
There is an enactment of indifference and the performances are
To complement Self-Portraits by Proxy, a group exhibition of
'self portraits' is presented in the gallery showroom. The works
chosen will include historical items from the Portsea Collection
where Peter Harris's Faith in Fakes show will be running concurrently,
as well as work by contemporary artists including Philip Akkerman,
Paul Housley, Adam Dant, Jasper Joffe, Thomas Steinert, John
Strutton and Gavin Turk.
Please click here
for further information on the Portsea Collection.
After leaving Chelsea College of Art Peter Harris (b. 1967)
co-founded the exhibition space Uncle Grey Presents with Charles
Avery in 1996 and has since exhibited widely, including solo
exhibitions at Kunsthalle Lüneburg (2007), Andrew Mummery
Gallery (1999, 2000, 2002) and group exhibitions at Laura Bartlett
Gallery, London ( Building, Dwelling, Thinking , 2008),
National Film Theatre, London ( Artists' films on Music
Culture , 2004), Kettle's Yard Cambridge ( Face Off
, 2002), Milton Keynes Gallery ( Air Guitar ,
||Back to exhibitions
I'd Laugh But There's
No Punchline - Version
Self-Portraits by Proxy
3, 4, 6 & 7
Please scroll down for installation views