‘The Self-portrait most intrigues me; not only are the deepest feelings and emotions of the artist visible, but also how they stand in society.’
Lique Schoot is a multidisciplinary artist. She works in the tradition of the conceptual art. Since graduating in 1997, she has used the Self-portrait as a vehicle for exploring the nature of existence.
In 2003, Lique began to photograph herself every day. Finding a different aspect from which to capture herself, always hand-held and within arms-length, the photos are taken with a compact, analogue camera, such as the Leica Mini II. Each month, she has the film roll developed and digitized. Titled with the date they are made (year, month and day), these files are edited on the computer into various series, such as ‘LS diaries Self-portraits (b/w)’ and ‘LS diaries Fragments’. She thus creates a continuous and open-ended record of her existence.
The LS diaries contain more than five thousand Self-portraits. The visual diary varies in mood – some tearful, some calm, some confident, some imperious – yet the photographs are unsparingly honest. The invitingly quiet and mysterious photographs capture in a real way the vulnerability of the artist.
She explores the dual nature of identity as simultaneously the perpetual reinvention of the self and an equally willful projection of the other. Common emotions and great themes emerge from the quiet simplicity and persistence of her imagery.
In her installations, ‘Sequences’, Lique shows human life in a poetic and cinematic way. She both directs and plays the lead, each day a frame in a conceptual movie. Inspired by Tarkovsky, the photos are an intuitive montage of film stills based on true life. The spontaneous, uncomposed pictures are a pure registration of felt experience. Understood as a film, ‘Sequences’ remains as close as possible to life itself. By giving the installations a poetic structure, the elusive and sublimated hidden phenomena of life are connected in a way that gives insight into the human condition. Our understanding of the meaning of the work flows naturally from our individual experience up to and including the work. This fragmentary poetic stream is an emotional appeal to the viewer to freely interpret a narrative and thereby participate in a deeper investigation of their own life.
LS diaries Fragments
Every detail is important in ‘LS diaries Fragments.’ The main focus is no longer the self, but rather the mosaic of impressions, such as a reflection of light or some flowers. Daily life is divided in a world of fragments.
Here She Is, There She Goes
In the polyptych, ‘Here She Is, There She Goes’ (see >>Portfolio 4. LS diaries Series), Lique questions the actual issue of identity by showing human life as a photo grid of same-scale squares, a format based on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. All of the squares are sections from the daily photos from the LS diaries archives, not only showing the portrait, but also digital details in the form of colors, structures, and the inside and outside environments, reconstructing identity on a broad scale.
The first construction is the creation of the images as photographs, so the arrangement of the daily fragments into the grid constitutes a process of reconstruction. The present of each day becomes re-presented. The process of reconstructing these fragmentary moments into a chronological (and physical) grid structure is apparently dispassionate. Personal narrative is discarded in favour of the inscrutable aesthetic of the algorithm, a fundamentally ‘de-expressive’ process. Presented in a social media-like grid which atomizes identity, the essential self is exposed as anarrative imposed by the viewer from outside. At the same time, the viewer becomes aware of their own efforts towards attempting to manufacture an identity where none is proffered.