‘Self Portrait’ reflection 2010

Throughout my time at university I have been exploring my history and its subsequent effect on my identity. This began with the project `One Life´ a work in progress, involving the exploration of paraphernalia and memorabilia from my past. This lead to `Silent´ a film and sculptural work focusing on a particular time in my early adult life.

These works have carved the path leading to my final piece for the degree show:

`Self Portrait - reflection´, which again considers my past, but is also a response to artists who has had a lasting effect on me and my work, Francis Bacon and Mark Rothko.



The objective for this final module was to push through boundaries and experiment further with video and projection, to explore untried areas with a view to discovering fresh ideas and stimuli, hence leading toward further development of my practice and culminating in an exhibition at the end of the third term.


The initial idea was to continue on the path of self investigation and explore further the autobiographical work I had developed in the second stage. I aimed to give a performance that was reflective of my life.

The use of Francis Bacon’s work as a reference developed through my research. Although the performances are a direct reflection of (and response to) my life, I performed them as a reaction to the works of Bacon, and at this stage the decision was made to present the work as a tryptic. The first performance being reflective of the screaming mouth, (Pope Innocent X), the second based on the wrestling figures on the bed, and the final performance is a reference to George Dyer.


Working alone with a video camera I experimented with my identity trying different guises using props such as masks and clothing. These recordings were too literal, the work need more depth. I then came upon the idea of using a blank canvas and made a frame with pliable fabric attached on which I made a physical impression of myself. This I then filmed.

As this piece is self portraiture and involved filming myself performing, using a high definition video camera and working in a more controlled environment, for the first time I needed to involve others in the process, using a camera assistant and a director.


For my research I explored further many film and video installation artists, such as; Sam Taylor Wood, Derek Jarman, Paul McCarthy and Jane and Louise Wilson. Though the main points of my research were to investigate further the two artists that have had the greatest impact on me, Francis Bacon and Mark Rothko.

Through this investigation the idea developed that my final piece would be in response to these two artists.


This final module has been of great value. Risks were taken which have pushed me into unfamiliar territories; to the extent that I was often looking at the possibility of failure. I have completed a satisfying installation which would not exist were these chances not taken.

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Derek Dickinson