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Dissected Portraits Preserved in Specimen Boxes

New York-based artist Michael Mapes takes documentation and preservation to another level. His series of works found in his virtual museum called Room 62 display tubes, glass vials, plastic bags, and gelatin capsules filled with “specimens” in an enclosed shelf. Each encased box has a unique subject whose physical identity is represented in a series of dissected photographs, which can be found within said containers or simply pinned to the backboard.

This artistic method of preservation is an interesting process normally applied to butterfly and bug collection displays. It seems like Mapes is taking things beyond simply displaying a portrait and perhaps offering a system to retain one's complex memory of a person or to visually analyze one's being. Whatever the case may be, the works certainly strike a conversation about identity.

Michael Mapes website
via [HeyNay, Colossal, Parlor Gallery]


Pinar Noorata is the Managing Editor at My Modern Met. She is a writer, editor, and content creator based in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her BA in Film and Media Studies from CUNY Hunter College and is an alumni of the Center for Arts Education’s Career Development Program in NYC. She has worked at major TV, film, and publishing companies as well as other independent media businesses. When she isn’t writing, editing, or creating videos herself, Pinar enjoys watching movies, reading, crafting, drawing, and volunteering at her local animal shelter.
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