Appel à publication : « Anti-Portraits: portraiture beyond likeness and identity » ( I.B. Tauris Publishers)

Francis Bacon, Autoportrait, huile sur toile, 1971

In the disciplines of art history and visual culture, a portrait is often understood as an artistic or creative representation of a unique human subject. An emphasis is placed on visual and psychological likeness, or alternatively, on the expression of social identity. Within Western art history portraiture is indissolubly associated with the bourgeois individualism of the modern subject. Whilst recent academic scholarship within the humanities and social sciences has developed new models for theorizing subjectivity, conceptions of the portrait have failed to keep pace, and the boundaries of the genre have remained largely intact. This collection of scholarly essays makes the case for an extended definition of portraiture, and outlines ways in which the reinvigorated genre might offer fresh paradigms for thinking about subjectivity, embodiment and representation.

Although references have been made to the ‘ends of portraiture’ (Buchloh 1994), or ‘the portrait’s dispersal’ (van Alphen 1997), few scholars have sought to frame the challenges presented by expanded portraiture in positive or productive terms. At an institutional level, organizations such as the National Portrait Gallery continue to privilege likeness and identity and remain slow to embrace work that might qualify for the label of ‘anti-portrait’. 

This will be the first published collection of essays devoted specifically to the phenomenon of the ‘anti-portrait’, an insubordinate artwork that rebels at the constraints implied by the traditional parameters of its genre. The volume will represent a significant contribution to the existing literature, resulting in a redefined understanding of portraiture that will not only shape future scholarly debate, but is also intended to have a practical impact on curatorial practices and institutional acquisition policies.

Chapter proposals are invited for a new volume on Anti-Portraits: portraiture beyond likeness and identity (I.B. Tauris). 

Interested authors should send a 200-300 word abstract and brief biography to the editors ( by 27th March 2015. If we accept your abstract, you will then be invited to submit a draft of your proposed chapter, which will be sent out for peer review. First drafts of chapters will be due by 1st July 2015, and final drafts by 1st October.

Contact :
Fiona Johnstone & Kirstie Imber
Department of Art History
School of Arts
Birkbeck, University of London  — UK


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