Genevieve Closuit lives and works in London.
She was born in Switzerland and studied at the Ecole Superieur d'Arts Visuels (HEAD) in Geneva. She obtained a postgraduate in Electronic Imaging in Duncan Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee and moved to London in 1994.
She specialised in video art and video installations and exhibited her work at many festivals and galleries. When she moved to London, in parallel to her digital art, she started a career in graphic/web design. When she signed up with Facebook in 2013, she began to produce a series of profile pictures tackling the issues of surveillance and privacy and the obsession of selfies.
Looking in the bathroom mirror, as everyone knows, is a practice best reserved for adjusting hair and makeup and inspecting one’s clothing from the chest up. It is a necessity, not a pastime. To dwell on or in the mirror is, we are led to believe, akin to touching oneself inappropriately. Unlike the latter practice such a dwelling will never deliver closure. The lack of closure in such an apparently straightforward act could be startling if it were not for the fact that we know perfectly well that, notwithstanding everyday necessities, despite its backing of opaque silver paint, the mirror is a bottomless pit.
Sure, it shows you what you look like, which it doesn’t. But up until quite recently (until selfies) that was what you had to settle for. It showed you what other people see, which it didn’t. But it does show you an image that you are perfectly prepared to accept as you. Until you sat at your mother’s triple-mirror dressing table. If you had a mother. If she had a dressing table. And you arranged the mirrors at a right angle. Anyway, at some point the disparity between the thing and its reversal is revealed.
But you didn’t need the left/right flip in order to start pulling faces – that’s a profound requirement that stems from deep psychic needs that are trivialised by being cast as the province of the young and the vain. Or, to put it another way, the young and the vain may often succumb to protracted dalliances with their reflections that inspire in others irritation, impatience and, covertly, envy. While the vain could be seen as partially trapped, the young and the very young are certainly onto something.
By pulling faces in the mirror we are able to access all that we are not. In addition, we are able to assess all that we are. When Genevieve Closuit composes an image of herself as a stout and friendly nurse, for example, we can readily tell ourselves that actually this artist is probably not stout nor is she a nurse. She has, moreover, produced over 100 images in the Profile Pictures collection, each of which is unmistakably her but nothing like what she looks like.
While you should not believe everything you read in the newspapers, it is helpful to believe that every single one of the Closuit images is an authentic voice from her multitudes. For we are all multitudes. Not all at once, of course. Were this the case then we could not walk across a room without being plagued by a chorus of voices from those who did not want to walk across that room. Those voices might confuse us if we did not experience them as missives from within. Even if we conceded that they came from within we might wonder how they got in there.
Fortunately, in a culture premised on the evacuation of the interior and its replacement by manufactured claimants and polished pretenders, the experience of inner multitudes has been downgraded. But the fact that this intrusive and ersatz interior decoration is designed to add intolerable urgency to desire should not deter us from nurturing our multitudes. To be upbeat for a moment, we now have more multitudes than ever, thanks to the pathologies of sales culture.
Some of Closuit’s inhouse denizens will, quite probably, be long established. Others will be of recent vintage. Many will be hybrids. Like the fish without a bicycle, this is not a condition that requires antidote.