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Reflected Self Portraits

Andrew Bracey: Reflected Self Portraits is an exhibition of self-portraits taken using the reflective surfaces of other artists’ artworks. It continues Bracey’s long-running interest in creating artworks that draw upon, appropriate, and add new visual dialogue with other artists’ works. Bracey has been taking these photographs since 2009 and has so far collected an archive of over 700 images. The photographs are simultaneously a visual record of the artist over time and close-ups or details of other artists’ work (one that happens to feature Bracey within them). At General Practice, Bracey will be showing the full archive in a new three-part video installation. A large-scale slide show projection relentlessly shows distinct depictions of the artist, in front of which is a monitor that acts both as a text panel for each photograph and a text-based artwork that hints towards conceptual questioning of the authorship. A soundtrack for installation is provided by the final video of Bracey smashing a mirror, adding another self-portrait but not one that is made with the reflective surface of a mirror.

The selection of artists whose work is captured in the Reflected Self Portraits is non-hierarchical, ranging from current art students and emerging artists to established and ‘superstar’ contemporary artists. Bracey is solely looking for only one characteristic; is the reflective materiality of the artwork’s surface enough to generate a self-portrait? Any other qualities of the artwork - be they to do with status, concept, interpretation, artistic intentions or meaning – are jettisoned in the creative process. In this way, Bracey could be seen to be acting parasitically, akin to a ‘mooch’, ‘sponger’ or ‘toady’ who is said to live at the expense of others. In this case, Bracey is not engaged with a rich understanding or dialogue with the other artist’s work, but purely using this one material quality within the existing artworks to generate new ones. On the other hand, Bracey is fully acknowledging the use of the other artists within the exhibition and is not ‘plagiarising’ or appropriating the other artist’s artwork to claim authorship of them. Is he simply making a self-portrait photograph that ‘happens’ to use the material qualities of their artwork?

Artist Talk

A special artist talk takes place on the last day of the Reflected Self Portrait exhibition at 3 pm on Saturday 9th March. Bracey will discuss the ideas behind the exhibition and put them into context of his current PhD research and his wider art practice that is re-examining motivations for the use of existing artworks by contemporary artworks that are additional to those closely aligned with appropriation art. The talk will be informal with plenty of opportunities for questions. 

Practice-Research at Project Space, Plus, Lincoln

Andrew Bracey is also showing his work, Self-ish Portraits, in a two-person show with Alice Bell at Project Space Plus at the University of Lincoln from 24th Feburary – 1st March 2024, open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm.


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