Portrait of the Artist at Work and Play

Accession Number

Portrait of the Artist at Work and Play

Les Klug

Medium & Support
gelatin silver print on paper

10 1/8 in. x 10 1/2 in. ( 25.72 cm x 26.67 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of Margaret and Howard Bond

Label copy
Les Klug, Wynn Bullock, and Richard Hamilton frequently include their reflections in their work, foregrounding the photographer's subjective role in the creation of an image.

Klug combines formal experimentation with a sense of humor in his photomontage Portrait of the Artist at Work and Play. He splices together several different scenes in which he and a mannequin appear and reappear. Creating an impossible and perplexing mise-en-abyme - an infinitely recurring sequence of mirrored pictures within pictures - Klug interrogates the relationship between the photograph and the objective reality it purports to represent.

In Wynn Bullock's self-portrait from 1971, the viewer looks into a dimly lit interior space through a window that reflects Bullock's dark, silhouetted shape. His body frames another, sunlit window visible on the opposite side of the room that obscures the details of his form. These pictorial choices challenge the traditional role of the self-portrait as a means of conveying the artist's identity, while calling out the analogous relationship between the window and the photograph.

Richard Hamilton likewise experiments with the genre of the self-portrait, representing his distorted image in front of and reflected in the chrome surface of a piece of sheet metal. Hamilton photographs himself in the act of painting white and yellow daubs of pigment across his own reflected portrait - thus framing the act of creation as the subject of the photograph.

Physical Description
Mannequin pieces and artist in a room with many windows and mirrors.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
black and white print

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
artists (visual artists)
models (people)
rooms (interior spaces)

6 Related Resources

(Part of 6 Learning Collections)
See Through: Windows and Mirrors in Twentieth-Century Photography
(Part of: Image Portfolios about Photography)
Curating Covid
Photography and Time - Capturing time / Visualizing time
(Part of: F20 Brown - COMPLIT 382 / RCHUMS 304 - It's About Time: Lived Experience in a Time of Crisis )

& Author Notes

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