48 portraits

4 march - 28 march, 2009

peter westwood

From 1971 - 72 Gerhard Richter completed 48 Portraits, a group of paintings depicting significant male figures who have made a marked contribution to the formation of modern European culture.

Peter Westwood’s project 48 Portraits is an installation involving the use of video and small portraits on paper in gouache. In part this is a work that has been made as a response to Richter’s renditions of leading European figures. Westwood’s work positions portraits of individuals, male and female, opposite, and in front of video works that record simple and instructional performances. Each of the video works – How to Fit, How to Fall (without hurting yourself) and How to Balance – offer insights into the kind of strategies required to function within a society. The portraits are of people who surround Westwood – socially, at home and at work.

Westwood’s people may or may not be significant within society. He looks to ordinary people and questions how people are imaged. Each portrait oscillates between a public presentation, not unlike a newspaper photograph, and an intimate and private experience through personal associations. These are not formal portraits. They contain the sense of uncertainty that individuals may feel within a complex and alienating society, and the disempowerment most of us experience when faced with a camera and told not to blink.

This project offers outward views, echoing reflections of power in society in relation to the individual, but is also in turn a reflection of introspection, isolation and connectedness within a society. In this installation Westwood seems to state: I know what it is to be human, I understand the world and I don’t understand the world; I don’t care to understand the world.



Exhibition Images


Exhibition Images

Exhibition Notes







installation view









installation view






48 Portraits installation view








48 Portraits installation view













Sean Gouache on paper












Paul Gouache on paper








Victor Gouache on paper








Mark Gouache on paper











Cheryl Gouache on paper












Jack Gouache on paper











Steve Gouache on paper













Joe Gouache on paper