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“Nonfacial Portrait” [2018]

Shinseungback Kimyonghun

“Nonfacial Portrait”


Portraits painted by several different artists, each by their own unique approach, are exhibited along with video footage documenting the respective work’s creation process. All of the portraits adopt an abstract style, or differ in other ways from concrete depictions of a human face.

Shinseungback Kimyonghun commissioned artists to paint a certain person’s portrait, under the condition that “the finished painting must not be recognizable as a face by artificial intelligence.” During the painting process, each painter’s canvas was supervised by a computer equipped with a camera and three face detection algorithms, and as soon as it detected a human face, this was indicated on the computer monitor. The artists used such “warnings” as reference for the creation of portraits that aren’t recognizable as a face by computer vision.

When trying to draw an accurate portrait, a computer can easily recognize the result as a face. The more effort one makes in order to make the painting unrecognizable, on the other hand, the more it differs from the actual face, and can therefore hardly be considered as a “portrait.” The work represents a search for a narrow visual space in which depictions of faces can be recognized as such by humans, but not by artificial intelligence.



List of Works