An ongoing series of portraits made using a Victorian mirror device. The images, known as ‘Multigraphs’, capture five simultaneous views of the subject in a single exposure. It’s an illusion produced entirely in-camera. The portraits complicate our visual perception, using the camera and mirror not just as objects to be ‘seen through’. The process subverts the idea of a photograph capturing one moment in time. Instead, we’re presented with a multiverse of possible moments.
Mirror reflections have long haunted Western art. But here, the absence of a visible frame disrupts our perception. The subject isn’t in full control. The unstable relationship between the five figures lends the group an uncanny, off-kilter agency. We sense a gang, a secret pact, the hint of ritual. But also something unreal, almost synthetic, post-human. When a reflection holds your gaze, it reads like a dissenter in the ranks. The conspiratorial undertone is shattered by this perceived non-conformist — the rebel.
With a longstanding interest in reflection and refraction, Forsyth & Pollard’s practice has been a form of portraiture from the very start. From their first video self-portrait to early live projects, including A Rock ’N’ Roll Suicide (ICA, London 1998). More recently, they’ve expanded on these ideas in their feature-documentary 20,000 Days on Earth (Film4/BFI, 2014), an intimate portrayal of the artistic process, made with the musician Nick Cave.
The first group of these portraits were created at Somerset House Studios, with their regular collaborator, photographer Paul Heartfield. The subjects are all people they have worked with across their practice.
Multigraph 001 (Kirk Lake) — Multigraph 002 (Johnny Vegas) — Multigraph 003 (Dan Howard-Birt) — Multigraph 004 (Montserrat Lombard) — Multigraph 005 (Marama Corlett) — Multigraph 006 (Chloe Aridjis) — Multigraph 007 (Freya Mavor) — Multigraph 008 (Elena Tonra) — Multigraph 009 (Caroline Catz) — Multigraph 010 (George MacKay) — Multigraph 011 (Darian Leader) — Multigraph 012 (Rita Tushingham) — Multigraph 013 (Paul Kaye) — Multigraph 014 (Ceri Hand) — Multigraph 015 (Ciaran O’Keeffe) — Multigraph 016 (Terrence Hardiman) — Multigraph 017 (Kirk Lake) — Multigraph 018 (Erik Wilson) — Multigraph 019 (Ben Moor) — Multigraph 020 (Michael Smiley) — Multigraph 021 (Freddie Fox) — Multigraph 022 (Johann Myers) — Multigraph 023 (Larry Achiampong)