In Horvatić’s life-size photographs of scenes from everyday life, the artist removes the distance between the environment and the portrayed by choosing a particular perspective: Shot from below, the images hide as much as they reveal, denying the viewer a glimpse of the part of the body we most immediately associate with identity – the face.
The best portraits give us the intimate feeling of being face to face with the person portrayed. But even in the most intimate embrace, the constraints of the physical world prevent us from fully uniting with that person; two bodies cannot command the same point in space.
Deni Horvatić overrides this in his SCAN project. Using a scanner-like camera, the artist records his subjects in such a way that the viewer is offered a point of view that he literally shares with the sitter: I see you from exactly where you are. By removing the distance between the bodies, the portraits in the SCAN series fulfil the fantasy of a complete merging of the viewer and the seen, which is actually impossible. However, if faces are the focal point of another’s identity, Horvatić’s faceless bodies raise the question of whether we have another individual in front of us at all. Like the Greek mythological figure of Narcissus, the viewer stands transfixed before what appears to be only the beautiful body of another. Proximity becomes distance again.
At the same time, Horvatić’s chosen – sometimes fetish-like – motifs again create closeness and intimacy with the sitters. One thinks one is lying in bed with the closely entwined couple (“Bedroom 1/3”) or sweating in the sauna oneself (“Sauna 3/10”). In the “Locker Room” you want to quickly gather your sports clothes or get into the bath yourself (“Bath 6/8”). The pain of the fallen cyclist (“Accident 5/6”) is palpable and no one wants to get under the rotating blade of the lawn mower (“Accident 1/6”).