In 1970, the neurologist MacDonald Critchley wrote about self-portraits as impostors of sorts, since artists often paint images of themselves which do not resemble how they actually look. In this perception, self-portraiture would be a predecessor of today’s selfies, which are increasingly staged or airbrushed images that have little resemblance to how a person looks in real life.

The lecture will question how the creation and distortion of one’s image goes hand in hand with the neo-liberal perception of subjectivity and how it came to prominence in times of post-truth. Before the emergence of selfies, artists have been in their own way dealing with the question of creation of their self-image. The lecture will first look at Francis Bacon’s self-portraits to analyze distortion of one’s image, after it will question how self-portraits differ from selfies and how Instagram presents a new place to curate one’s life. In conclusion, the lecture will explore the phenomena of the so-called impostor syndrome, the feeling many people experience today that they will be discovered as being fake or that the truth about them being less accomplished than they seem will be revealed.

A joint lecture cycle organized by Garage Museum of Contemporary Art and Moscow Art Magazine (Khudoshestvenny Zhurnal)

“Self-perception in times of post-truth: what can Francis Bacon’s self-portraits tell us about subjectivities in times of selfies?” A lecture by Renata Salecl