Facing Another, 2015
MFA Degree Show
The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Stockholm

The very first work I did at RIA was to put a photo of a namesake of mine in the school catalog, where he has remained ever since. Soon after, I involved fellow students in working with the police to create identikit images–facial composites–of myself.

The context of the school, which was new to me then, seemed to spur this particular work on. A context’s capacity to influence my own questions is still crucial to my practice. The complex relations of my surroundings are far beyond the power of my own imagination.
Working with other people allows me to focus on constraining a situation, thereby fictionalizing it in a way. An attempt, possibly futile, to work at a critical distance from my own practice.

I recently returned to those early pieces, curious to see if I could locate people who resembled the composites. For the final exhibition, I’m showing a mask made by combining one of the phantom faces with the facial features of an actual person. I used the original identikit image as reference to find a visual match through a website for film extras.
I got in touch with the guy–the extra–, who sent me photos of himself, which I then merged with the composite image in order to render it in 3D so that it could be printed as a wearable mask.

Throughout the exhibition the mask will be worn by extras who are asked to act as visitors. Along with this there’s a video based on casting interviews conducted with six of the extras which also involves an optical illusion invisible to people diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Photo: Jean Baptiste Béranger