June Chen’s latest body of work is an investigation of the self-portrait. Using a series of glossy, studio photographs of her own face as a starting point, the artist enacts a process of defacement. Making precise, almost surgical, cuts directly into the photographic surface, Chen’s method is as delicate as it is violent.
Chen’s incisions serve to reveal the manipulation which is inherent in the photographic process – even more so in an age when it is the standard practice of photographers to digitally ‘improve’ their subject’s appearance in a professional studio portrait.
In these images, the artist looks back at her viewers through a complex geometric lattice. The fractured surface blocks our gaze, and it also reveals the extent to which self-portraiture is a kind of performance.