“Hidden Reynolds”
80x65cm, Photocollage 2020


“Hidden Anshutz”
80x63cm, Photocollage 2019

The “Hidden Portraits” are photo collages. I create them by editing photos of historical portraits, concealing in various ways the faces
of the people portrayed.
The entire face is covered by an absurd mask, piled-up fabric or a ceremonial wig. But nothing is added to the paintings. All the changes come from within the original itself.
Portrait paintings are the only pictorial testimonies of people until the invention of photography.
They are defining our visual idea of a historic society. However, portraits were a luxury and limited exclusively to a privileged elite.
The intention in portrait painting was not merely to depict individuals, but rather their representational significance.
Thus, opulent clothes and elaborate accessories and attributes in the paintings attest to high social standing.
However, when the faces of the protagonists are concealed, their individuality retreats behind the symbols of social significance and opulent surfaces that bear testimony to the splendour of the upper class.
But the conventions of dress that could be taken for granted at the time the portraits were painted have ceased to be part of our everyday reality.
We no longer understand them and see only the likeness in the picture.
For the viewer, the focus in my modified pictures shifts away from being the expression of an individual and towards the integration of painting in a social context.
The “Hidden Portraits” examine the context of art as a means of representation and the relationship between image and reproduction.

Photo:Franz Schuier

Volker Hermes

Volker Hermes (*1972)
1992 – 1995 Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Philosophy
1995 – 2002 Academy of art Düsseldorf, Painting in the class of Dieter Krieg
2000 Meisterschüler of Dieter Krieg
Instagram: volker.hermes