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The artist has been both fascinated and repulsed in unequal measure by images of himself; the idea of self has been a recurrent theme in his work. His feelings about being photographed border on the phobic and he felt compelled to make works that could loosely be termed self-portraits, but showing those things about himself that cause him the most unease. For a recent show at the John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, he showed Once Bitten, a large photographic close-up of his badly-bitten finger nails. Smith states: ‘I hate this part of me, but at the same time I think I needed to expose it.’ The images on these pages show the artist when he had a very short haircut to discover what kind of head he had: ‘Well, it turned out to be a disappointment, but as usual I had felt the urge to out this image by publicly sharing it. Maybe this is what art does, it allows us to rid ourselves of our failings and explore the dark side. Whatever the reason, the following pages are my answer to a question no one asked of me.’
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Keywords: Face to Face; John Hansard; Once Bitten; Terry Smith; self-portrait

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-05-01

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