Claus Carstensen (1957-), Mirror Man Mirror Me, 1997
It may seem a contradiction in terms for an artist to have someone else do his self-portrait. Nevertheless, this is exactly what Claus Carstensen did in Mirror Man Mirror Me.
A series of 13 self-portraits
The drawing is part of a series that comprises 13 pastel and coloured pencil self-portraits from 1997. Carstensen calls these pictures self-portraits determined by others. In doing so, he indicates that he did not do the drawings himself.
The concept is by Carstensen, but the creative and introspective process has been outsourced to a Ukrainian asylum seeker in the best street-artist style.
Portraits based on photographs
The portraits are based on photographs that Carstensen has selected from his private photo album. In the drawing shown here, Carstensen poses confidently, a sly expression on his face. The series of portraits determined by others can be seen as a piece of concept art intended as an homage to Carstensen on the occasion of his 40th birthday.
The artist-subject and the creator
Carstensen challenges a long-standing tradition within art history by problematising the relationship between the artist-subject and the creator of the piece. He makes a break with the traditional view of artists, demythologising the concept of the autonomous work.