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Self Portrait After St.Veronica

2015, blotting paper 39.5 x 39.6 cm


An image comes from and ends with a face. At the beginning is the face said to have appeared on the veil of Saint Veronica. Saint Veronica was among those accompanying Jesus Christ as he bore the cross, and she offered him her veil to wipe his face. It is said that when he did so, an image of his face appeared on the cloth. It is just as if his face were light and it “exposed” the fabric like a photographic plate. In many parts of the world there exist cloths said to the veil of St. Veronica used by Christ, which are revered as holy relics. Some call the images on these cloths “miracles”, others “photography.” Personally, I recall this story every time I use oil-blotting paper on my face. This paper has its roots in the paper backing for gold leaf, which women in Kyoto brothels used when fixing their makeup. Come to think of it, one theory holds that Saint Veronica was a similar sort of woman herself.


When we paint, one crucial factor is the sort of liquid to dissolve the pigment with. Turpentine is used for oil painting, water for watercolor or ink painting. Meanwhile, a picture executed in the oil of the face itself is a self-portrait in more than one sense of the word.


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