deFacebook – Glitched Portraits


The work “deFacebook” by Indian artist Nandan Ghiya consists of a series of portraits made from images taken from popular social networks and physically printed on canvas. The selected photos are classic half-length or full-figured portraits, (partially) set up according to the classical canons of the family portrait. The wooden or golden frames are thick and heavy. Together with the hue of the pictures, which often changes to sepia, they give the images a nostalgic antique mood. This aesthetic vintage effect is functional, engendering a sense of disruptive irony. Some parts of the pictures (often the faces) have been modified using very apparent and colourful glitch effects. This is underlined by a subtle but crucial characteristic: the frames of the paintings retain their classical rigor in the colours and materials but they follow every whim of the glitched pixels which overflow the profiles, breaking the hardness and regularity of the classical frames. With this refined aesthetic expedient, the artist looks to disrupt the style of the classic portrait. The transition to digital of the public representation of the self (once the family portrait) became engrained after Facebook. The subjectivity, so fixed on canvas, is represented in all its fragility, creating effective effigies of the modern portrait – even more impressive because of the errors in the unstructured faces.

Chiara Ciociola