Once on TV


In an aphoristic essay called “The Face” Giorgio Agamben said that inasmuch “as it is nothing but pure communicability, every human face, even the most noble and beautiful, is already suspended on the edge of an abyss. This is precisely why the most delicate and graceful faces sometimes look as if they might suddenly decompose, thus letting the shapeless and bottomless background that threatens them emerge.”[1]

Faust utilises the face as a starting point to enter questions about identity, the self, subjectivity, spirit, consciousness, agency, the other, personality, alienation, being, the subject, but instead of reading the narrative of culture written through faces, she uses means of abstractions and, more importantly, fragmented features as a locus of meaning.

The fragments are not necessarily bound to a mode of temporality, so they equally speak of the present as much as they speak of a future. The fragmentary appears as ruptured within itself and is thereby apart from propositions, rules, narratives and systems. The fragment is characterised by its inherent multiplicity therefore Faust’s portraits can be seen as psychological MRTs, flaying and unpeeling layers, splinters, bringing them to the surface to be seen simultaneously.

Faust’s latest series of works delineate from a classical understanding of photographic or painterly portraits. There is no focus on a wholesome face. Photography, by its use of depth of field, focuses on a detail or captures the whole, but in Faust’s portraits every facet is interrogated at the same time. These pan-chronic images use the fragmented markers of features and identities as a means towards slippage or a breaking free of context. Assembled from fragments, these portraits connect with a feeling of time that cannot be overcome and in turn are wild psychological landscapes.


Laura Windhager


[1] Giorgio Agamben, Means Without End: Notes on Politics, University Of Minnesota Press, 2000.