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Péter Forgács

Rembrandt Morphs

Ani Molnár, Budapest

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Artist
Péter Forgács
Title
Rembrandt Morphs
Year
2006
Duration
30 min

“In 2006 Péter Forgacs made his video installation Rembrandt Morphs which is staged now at the National Gallery/Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest and at EYE, Amsterdam. His work uses computer technology to process 37 renowned self-portraits by the Dutch master – the pictures morph into each other, sometimes chronologically, sometimes at random. The program which works out the transitions between the digitized images, pixel by pixel, generates a “baroque” illusion of the painter coming to life and looking into the viewers’ eyes. To produce the captivating cinematic effect, the paintings – each of which has its own size, format, and color scheme – had to be aligned to the uniform frame of a fictive “common” face: certain prominent features (the pupils of the eyes, the tips of the chin and nose, and so on) act as common points of reference. The living “spectacle” breaks away from its material media to become an ironic anti-painting: the digital technology is hidden behind the effect’s semblance of reality, just as Rembrandt’s own beguiling technique is almost untraceable. Forgács, whose roots lie in the avant-garde, turns the “movie” screen upright (to the “portrait format”), places it within a classical museum picture frame and in one sequence compares and contrasts the images with moving pictures of the slow real-time work of the painter Erzsébet Vojnich.”

András Rényi

Stills