The Self-Portrait

Das Autoportrait

CR 45. Year 1975

Wv 45 The Self Portrait 01

Thirty five years after my birth, I have arrived to where I started from. What I mean is that I am as alone today as I was at that time. All my efforts to attract people, because this is really what it is about, seem to have chased them away and kept them far from me. The more insistently I have presented myself to them, the more they have drifted away from me.

Here a rather fundamental question arises, the question of what can be said at all. What kind of articulation could hold what we describe as our experience, what experience could mean to us at all, what its substance, its comprehensibility could be. Jochen Gerz is one of those who try to give an answer.

Helmut Heißenbüttel 1974. Translated by e_CR editors

Es stellt sich vielmehr die grundsätzliche Frage, was sich denn überhaupt sagen läßt, welcher Art die Artikulation sein könnte, in der sich fassen läßt, was wir als unsere Erfahrung bezeichnen. Damit auch die Frage nach dem, was für uns Erfahrung heißen könne, wo deren Grund und Faßbarkeit überhaupt liege. Jochen Gerz, … ist einer von denen, die Antwort zu geben versuchen.

Helmut Heißenbüttel 1974

​In fact, the precondition for an image to come into being is the existence of the subject-who-sees (and represents) and the seen object (the represented). This politics of the visible consists of several layers of decision-making: what to render visible, what to leave invisible and, most importantly, how to make that which is kept invisible in today's utterly homogenised social order… visible.

Bojana Pejic 1993

Performance / Installation

Speaker’s lectern, pane of glass, 65 x 75 cm, wooden pole, photographic opaque, video camera
Duration 4 hours

Jochen Gerz writes a text on a pane of glass with photographic opaque. The glass pane is mounted vertically on a lectern in front of him. The more the text fills the pane, the more it conceals the writer. The performance is recorded on video tape (674).

See other Jochen Gerz self-portraits: 27, 109, and 617


Galerie nächst St. Stephan, Wien 1975


Video (674), 58 min (Galerie nächst St. Stephan, Wien)
Vidéo Les Beaux Jours, Strasbourg la Maison de l’Image, Strasbourg and imai, inter media art institute, Düsseldorf

Exhibitions of the documentation

Wien 1975. Lausanne 1985 (Stuttgart 1985). Houston 1986 (San Antonio 1986). Wien 1993. Tel Aviv 1995. Paris 2002 (Strasbourg 2002. Liechtenstein 2002)


I: Karlsruhe 1975a, pp. 138-139. Bielefeld 1981, pp. 41, 102. Bielefeld 1985, pp. 33-34, 199. Lausanne 1985, p. 439. Houston 1986, p. 213. Düsseldorf 1988, pp. 3-6. Sint-Niclaas 1995, p. 179. Tel Aviv 1995, pp. 30-34. Paris 2002, p. 42. Ivry-sur-Seine 2017, pp. 13, 170-171

II: Metken 1975, p. 136. Red. 6, 1980, p. 5. Gravel 1983. Engelhard 1988, Kisters 1990, p. 142. Heck 1994, p. 38. Régnier 1994, p. 2. Poitevin 2017.

III: Rogendörfer 1990, p. 228

IV: Nuremberg 2018

V: Metken 1977, p. 130. Krug-Mann 1979, p. 364. Thomas 1985, p. 216. Wolf 1992, p. 213. Hoeven 2015, pp. 210-250. Fréchuret 2016, p. 225-229. Benthein, Lau and M. Marxsen 2019, pp. 109, 191-192, 196. Gieser 2022, pp. 329-331.

Access general Bibliography

My name is Jochen Gerz