I was on my way somewhere yesterday and I saw this. There is something more powerful about the crude the scratching out of the eyes of a human form in an image than most other forms of alteration.
Thinking about it, I reckon most forms of interference with the eyes turns things sinister with immediate effect.
Sarah Koponen‘s image of George Bush, although powerful, lacks the creepiness that the other two images have. This image appears to me to depersonalise the president, more a criticism of the role in general. It isn’t creepy, it seems a little contemptuous of it’s subject, but mostly it seems to be showing him as foggy and insubstantial.
Of course defacing faces isn’t new and it isn’t just political. Many of the remaining medieval church paintings in England have undergone various assaults and the faces are the areas that seem to suffer most damage.
While I was writing this post I did a bit of searching around the idea of defacing portraits and came across the work of Caroline Jaine who has what I think is a rather superb group of portraits here: un-portraits