Greek artist Anestis Anestis has created a series of abstract portraits of the G8 world leaders. Each image in ‘This is not a group’ is comprised of four hundred photographs layered on top of one another, rendering the people within them as blurred but familiar forms.
Using custom-made software designed with Processing, Anestis developed a program that stacks Google image results on top of one another, condensing hundreds of photographs into a single portrait. As the artist explains, “Each pixel captures the light and color details of numerous original images, and the huge algorithmic details displayed in large dimensions challenge the viewer to fuse his physiological perceptions with their digital representations in a world of big data.”
Though the portraits are abstracted, some of the faces in them remain familiar—the colors of Angela Merkel and Donald Trump notably so. The merging of so many images into one gives the portraits a painterly quality, and Anestis himself points to the impressionistic style that they have taken on. In a statement about the work, he nods to Pointillism and wider Neo-Impressionist art, along with CMYK printing and Abstract Expressionism as references for the series. “The clustering of many different images portraying the same query term…is also a reference to Claude Monet’s impressionist method of painting the same scene many times to capture the essence of passing seasons,” Anestis explains. If a picture tells a thousand words, four hundred pictures condensed into one certainly tells much more.