Welcome to the Archives of Velvet Magazine! For those of you who might not know, Velvet was Prague's first city magazine and sadly published just a few issues. I, Jeffree from Think Magazine, designed the very last issue of Velvet, which was killed the day it was to go to press... and thus, I turned my attention to making Think. A lot of the contact, adresses and business information here is too old to be useful, but why not take a walk down memory lane and enjoy yourself?
By Susannah Rosenstock
izi David thinks everyone is two-faced. His current show (through August 27 at Galerie Rudolfinum) proves the point. Those unfamiliar with David's black and white photographic portraits will be drawn in immediately by the sheer novelty of his concept, He takes photos of politicos, artists, writers, scientists, and athletes, splits them down the center, and makes two new photos, one face of two right halves, the other of two left. At first glance this can come across as a one-liner, the punch line being that these "portraits" no longer portray the people we are so used to seeing. So what are they?
David, a Czech-born professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (FAMU) who also works with video, installations, and paintings, spent the last year-and-a-half working on the "Hidden Image" project. He has created 91 pairs of distinctly revealing photographs. The more recognizable subjects include Allen Ginsberg, Martina Navratilova, Vaclav Havel, and Dennis Hopper. The list of those unwilling to participate (for scheduling problems or just plain fear) is as long as those who were, and includes such icons as Ronald Reagan, Woody Allen, Jack Nicholson, and Mother Theresa, who did, however, send her prayers.
When you get past the initial punch line, the portraits begin to reveal the physical asymmetry inherent in all people: uneven eyebrows, a bump in the nose, a beauty mark. The two lobes of the brain cause facial asymmetry. The right, creative hemisphere controls the muscles of the left side of the face, and the more analytical left hemisphere, the right side. (In left-handed people, this is reversed). The dissimilarities between the "left" and "right" portraits are frequently striking; suddenly the lifelong veil is lifted as each side is given a full human face. No longer able to hide in the camouflage of asymmetry, normally covert personalities emerge; we get the white and the black, instead of the grey we see every day.
Those who have doubts might try the experiment, if, unlike Ronald Reagan, they dare. It's cheaper than therapy.
It is as if each face is a pointillist painting, made up of small dots of different colors, which David separates so as to reveal the parts of the whole, the process behind the finished product, one begins to understand that asymmetry is one of nature's more complex defense mechanisms. In the case of humans, apparently, the defense reaches into regions so far beyond the physical that one senses something at work that the intellect alone cannot grasp. When these celebrity faces, which we thought we knew so well, are stripped of their public masks, the true person, perhaps, is revealed. This is a haughty claim, and only the subjects themselves know its ultimate truth.