This image of Marx contains no part of Marx's actual image; it is constructed purely from an archive of images of others - bits of features from those who were influenced by him, who interpreted his ideology, and laid claim to it in some shape or form. Be it the nose of Lenin, the cheek of Mao or the eyebrow of Castro, the features of various individuals come together to form the components of this constructed portrait of Marx.
Ten years ago Patrick Waterhouse cut out the component pieces but it was only during the 2020 lockdown that he assembled them into the final image, while working on a wider project looking into the nature of influence.
The first in a series to be publicly exhibited, Marx I portrays the idea of a dividual self. In contrast to the individual, the dividual is a distributed entity which is relationally constructed and made up of many parts. An archaic word, dividual has slipped out of use but Waterhouse considers it a useful gateway to explore the collective self and to review grand narratives and ideologies which are often attributed to individuals but are more often created over time through shared thinkers and actors.
From Marxism to Darwinism to Rastafarianism, the Ism series represents a range of people who personify an ideology, a tendency which limits our understanding of how ideas form and develop in the world. In order to expand our understanding, the image is a visual correlative of a collectively created idea.
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