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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Dissections

Layered portraits from the collection

Previous exhibition
from Friday 19 August until Sunday 27 November 2016

A technologically-precise sculpture depicts an artist. A speculative painting depicts a philosopher. Together, in this focus display, they explore physical and psychological manifestations of self-hood.

Divide (Self portrait)
Divide (Self portrait), 2011 Sam Jinks. © Sam Jinks

Divide is a self portrait by Sam Jinks. He recalls owning an anatomical model in childhood – a representation of fragility and mortality. Contemplation of the human life cycle is a theme that runs through much of Jinks’ work. Recent sculptures have drawn on the classic humanist themes of Italian Renaissance art. Jinks’ portrait head and bone-like maquette explore the intersection of science, self-hood and the traditions of the portrait bust.

The portrait of philosopher David Chalmers was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery. Artist Nick Mourtzakis was invited to create the painting. At their first meeting Mourtzakis was struck by Chalmers’ ‘utter sensitivity’. The subtlety of Chalmers’ thinking and the lucidity and formality of his writing suggested to Mourtzakis the necessity of making the portrait as ‘non-material’ and ‘non-physical’ as possible. Mourtzakis made sketches from life and these were developed into the final portrait. Within the open visual structure of geometric lines and spaces is the suggestion of the softness and substance of a marble bust. A thin vertical strip provides a vector of focus and stability and holds the freedom of the form together.

From 19 August, the portraits will be displayed along with related maquette and sketches.

3 portraits

1 Maquette for 'Divide', 2011 Sam Jinks. © Sam Jinks. 2 David Chalmers, 2011 Nick Mourtzakis. © Nick Mourtzakis.

Related information

David Chalmers

'Consciousness, iPhones and philosophical zombies'

Portrait story

Professor David Chalmers explains his interest in philosophy and introduces some of his theories on the conscious mind.

The Long Awaited, 2008 by Patricia Piccinini
The Long Awaited, 2008 by Patricia Piccinini
The Long Awaited, 2008 by Patricia Piccinini
The Long Awaited, 2008 by Patricia Piccinini

In the flesh

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2015

An exhibition of humanness in ten themes by Penelope Grist.

Inner Worlds

Portraits and Psychology

Previous exhibition, 2011

Portraits of Australia’s pioneering psychologists and artworks by artists fascinated by the subconscious mind.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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