From Kate's smiling eyebrows to Harry Styles' staring chin: The topsy turvy faces of celebrity

Darren Coffield's strange portraits challenge the appearance of some of the most photographed people in the world

Matilda Battersby@matildbattersby
Thursday 04 April 2013 23:03

The artist Darren Coffield has subverted some of the most recognisable faces in the worth by turning their faces topsy turvy.

Displaced eyes stare from the chins of Marilyn Monroe and Kate Middleton, whilst mouths belonging to Harry Styles and Simon Cowell hover under their eyebrows.

Coffield’s work plays with tricks of recognition and the human brain’s ability to correct an aesthetic that we don’t quite understand.

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His series Masters of Reality, a play on notions of the culture of celebrity, so primed in modern life by reality television, makes the viewer question their relationship with iconic faces.

“There is now an excessive exposure to faces in the media. We see in the media faces that have been idealised, manipulated and touched up. When viewed, the face creates in the mind a kind of Orwellian doublethink,” Coffield says.

“We know that we are viewing a manipulated ‘untruth’ and yet we hold the image to be true, a notion of beauty to obtain or aspire to. The face has a strong social, cultural and historical role. An inverted face is not only difficult to recognise but repositions our sensitivity to the spatial relationships between human features. Here, facial features become strange constellations of communication, whilst new facial recognition patterns emerge.”

Darren Coffield: Masters of Reality is at the Pertwee, Anderson and Gold Gallery from 12 April to 1 May 2013,

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