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De fem fulaste
Felix Gmelin

Computer animated morph made out of the five most ugly faces in the Portray Collection of the Swedish National Gallery. This is not the first time he depicts the relativity of beauty and asks whether beauty can grow out of a combination of ugliness. From the collections he has chosen the ugliest faces, and he lets them merge into each other in a film that works as a continuous portrait, a picture compounded from five centuries.

Funnily enough, the ugly faces that Gmelin has chosen all seem to have extremely large noses and owl-like eyes, which perhaps makes it easier for the portraits of Lucas Cranach, Per Krafft, Albert Engstrom and Olaf Rudeto merge into one individual, who breathes; eyes fasten on you and lips pursed, while at the same time shoulders are shrugged, the chin protrudes and the décolletage goes up and down.

English title The Five Most Ugly Faces in the National Gallery
Keywords Animation
Aspect ratio 1.33:1 (4:3)
Prod. format Computer
Duration 00:01:30
Language No dialogue
Color Color
Year 1999
Latest screening Jun 8, 2002
Feb 1, 2002
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About the artist

Born 1962 in Heidelberg, Germany. Lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden.

Felix Gmelins’ education includes the Royal University College of Fine Arts, Stockholm. His previous exhibitions include Revolution II, Portikus, Frankfurt [DE], Malmö Konstmuseum, Malmö, Sweden, Milliken, Stockholm and Maccarone Inc., New York, USA, Berlin Biennale 4, Berlin, Germany, Delays and Revolutions, Italian Pavilion, 50th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, Iconoclash, Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion and Art, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany, among others.

Using unobtrusive visual techniques, Felix Gmelin explores in his work on video and his paintings the pictorial symbolism of politics, the idea of utopia and radicalism. By comparing the political movements of the late 1960s with the activism of today, he enriches the complexity of the political debate and reflects the significance of history and its presence in contemporary life. The works become both private and universal to the extent that he – like an entire generation along with him – has to relate to the inheritance of the revolutionary era.