See How One Artist Harnessed the Power of Augmented Reality to Make a Series of Quirky Self-Portraits (Hint: It Involves Bunny Ears)

The artist makes a new painting every day.

Rinus van Hall with his series
Rinus van Hall with his series "The Fake Surface," at Kyas Art Salon's VOLTA booth. Photo by Sarah Cascone.

It was a disastrous 2019 for VOLTA New York, with structural problems at Pier 94 leading the Armory Show to unceremoniously boot its younger sister fair from its venue at Pier 90. Cancelling the fair left dealers scrambling to find space across the city to show their work, including at SCOPE, Art on Paper, and a “Plan B” exhibition hosted by David Zwirner.

Now under new ownership, Ramsay Fairs, and a new director, Kamiar Maleki, the fair also has new digs a few blocks south of the piers, on the other side of the West Side Highway, at Metropolitan Pavilion West.

After last year’s debacle, the majority of dealers did not return, with the number of exhibitors dropping from 78 to 53. But Kaoru Yamamoto, of Amsterdam’s Kyas Art Salon, wasn’t scared away. “I was worried because of the coronavirus!” she exclaimed.

Her booth is one of VOLTA’s highlights. It includes works by Rinus van Hall, who is showing a diminutive series of self-portraits, each priced at $950. Each work depicts the artist through the lens of a different social media filter.

“I took it as a diary. I made a painting a day,” Van Hall told Artnet News, noting that augmented reality was becoming more prevalent.

“Somebody might be putting a filter on top of you,” he warned.

Using Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram, Van Hall transformed his face by adding bunny ears, turning his face into a creepy skull, or making his skin look like shiny plastic. These normally ephemeral images are surprisingly successful translated into classical, realistic portraiture.

“It’s funny to see how the filters themselves also have an effect on how you pose,” he said. “With a more feminine filter my expressions were completely different.”

Van Hall has made 67 works in the series so far, and he isn’t running out of options, especially now that filters are becoming more open source, allowing people to make their own. “There is almost a new filter every day, which is mind boggling,” he said. “There’s a real creative engine behind it.”

See more paintings from the series below.

Rinus van Hall, <em>The Fake Surface #64</em> (2020). Courtesy of Kyas Art Salon.

Rinus van Hall, The Fake Surface #64 (2020). Courtesy of Kyas Art Salon.

Rinus van Hall, The Fake Surface #2 (2019). Courtesy of Kyas Art Salon.

Rinus van Hall, The Fake Surface #2 (2019). Courtesy of Kyas Art Salon.

Rinus van Hall, The Fake Surface #61 (2020). Courtesy of Kyas Art Salon.

Rinus van Hall, The Fake Surface #61 (2020). Courtesy of Kyas Art Salon.

Rinus van Hall, The Fake Surface #1 (2019). Courtesy of Kyas Art Salon.

Rinus van Hall, The Fake Surface #1 (2019). Courtesy of Kyas Art Salon.

VOLTA New York is on view at Metropolitan Pavilion West, Metropolitan West, 639 West 46th Street, New York, March 4–8, 2020. 


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