January 25, 2024

Swiss artist abstract portrait project comes to Ithra

Swiss artist abstract portrait project comes to Ithra

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At Dhahran’s Ithra Learning Beyond Conference, visitors experienced Tobias Gutmann’s unique Face-O-Mat installation. Gutmann, sitting at his installation, crafted abstract interpretations of faces using ink and paper. Gutmann’s Face-O-Mat fosters face-to-face connections, showing art’s power in global communication.

Gutmann’s Face-O-Mat: Bridging Communication with Abstract Portraiture

Gutmann, born to Swiss-German parents in Papua New Guinea and raised in Switzerland, discovered early the universal language of art. The Swiss artist’s abstract portrait project, Face-O-Mat, originated in Stockholm during his MFA studies. His technique involves using a mini rake-like tool to create symbolic facial features, emphasizing the negative space.

Participants sit across Gutmann, separated by a cardboard box with a hole. In this setup, communication transcends words; some speak, and others communicate silently. The process, taking about five minutes per drawing, is more reflective than a quick photograph. Gutmann’s drawings balance playfulness with precise squiggles to capture each person’s unique features occasionally highlighted with a dash of color.

 

Gutmann Creates Tangible Art Reflecting Facial Expressions

Gutmann Creates Tangible Art Reflecting Facial Expressions

Gutmann has drawn over 5,000 faces worldwide with Face-O-Mat, from France to Saudi Arabia. His installation at Ithra, inspired by the local flora, was assisted by two Saudi artists, adding a ‘garden’ theme to the setting. Ithra’s statement emphasizes Gutmann’s focus on creating encounters, bridging external perceptions with internal emotions.

Face-O-Mat at Ithra: Gutmann’s Artistic Exchange and Community Building

In Saudi Arabia, Gutmann’s Face-O-Mat let visitors draw each other, creating a communal art space. He aimed to transcend cultural barriers and encourage mutual artistic exploration. Gutmann’s work has not only been about creating portraits but also about nurturing an interactive art community.

Gutmann's Art Captures Expressions in Tangible Interpretations

Gutmann’s Art Captures Expressions in Tangible Interpretations

Each completed portrait in the Face-O-Mat experience is a keepsake for participants, with Gutmann documenting each in his digital archive. Among those drawn was Bader Al-Jenaid, who found his abstract portrait by Gutmann reflective of his image. After a week at Ithra, Gutmann returned to Switzerland, cherishing memories and faces immortalized in ink.

The Face-O-Mat atelier, remaining at Ithra’s Plaza for two months, invites visitors to continue this artistic dialogue. This initiative not only showcases Gutmann’s talent but also enriches the cultural tapestry of Ithra, inviting people to join a global community of abstract portraits. To explore more of Gutmann’s work, his digital gallery is accessible via the Face-O-Mat app.

Source: Arab News

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