These Self-Portraits will freak you out

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Let's hope its nothing like this trio of images from 500 Self-Portraits. . .
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Self-Portrait with a Plucked Eye (1931) by Victor Brauner. All images appear in 500 Self-Portraits
Self-Portrait with a Plucked Eye (1931) by Victor Brauner. All images appear in 500 Self-Portraits

Most of us try to present ourselves as beautiful, or (in our case) at the very least presentable, when we create a self-portrait. However, many artists have also sought to unsettle or disturb viewers when creating a portrait of themselves, as our new book 500 Self-Portraits makes clear. Here’s a few of the freakiest ones.

Self-Portrait with a Plucked Eye (1931) by Victor Brauner (top) This Romanian-born Surrealist artist painted this work while living in Paris. Brauner had full use of both of his eyes at the time, though he was preoccupied with eyeless portraits. However, in an uncanny stroke of fate, he lost his left eye in a bar fight six years later. Should have stuck to painting.

 

Self-Painting, Self-Mutilation (1965) by Günter Brus
Self-Painting, Self-Mutilation (1965) by Günter Brus

Self-Painting, Self-Mutilation (1965) by Günter Brus Brus was one of the founders of Viennese Actionism, and purposefully set out to shock his audiences, it's said to somehow atone for or confront the horrors of the Third Reich. This image, taken from a series of performance or ‘actions’ staged in Vienna during the early-to-mid 1960s saw Brus writhe around in white slime, toy with knives and razor blades, painted a stitched line down his face and body, and stroll out into the streets of Vienna (where he was promptly arrested for disturbing the peace).

 

Self-Portrait with Equals (1971) by Claes Oldenburg
Self-Portrait with Equals (1971) by Claes Oldenburg

Self-Portrait with Equals (1971) by Claes Oldenburg This image shows the US pop art sculptor surrounded by a few of his better-known works, such as his Geometric Mouse and his Plug. However, the picture also shows two aspects of the creator. “One side shows the kindly aspect of the artist, the other the brutal one.” That’s an ice pack on his head, by the way – another everyday object that Claes has recreated as pop sculpture. Oldenburg has said that the ice pack doubles as an artist’s beret in this image, while the spooky eye make up expresses how he “alternated between the image of a magician and that of a clown.”

 

500 Self-Portraits

Want to see these images and many more? Then order a copy of 500 Self-Portraits here.


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