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The Miaz Brothers and Sensory Perception

Words:

Edd Norval
September 10, 2021

You’ll definitely recognise the artwork of the Miaz Brothers, although you might not know them by name. That’s because the portraits feature some of the most distinguished figures in art history - like the Mona Lisa - but without any of the finer details. We recognise them through their blurred interpretation, simply by drawing from the wells of our own imagination to fill in the bits they've left out.

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By putting a lot of the onus onto the audience, there is an immersive aspect to their work. We are immediately involved in decoding the process of interpretation. Still, a lot of this process happens entirely unconsciously. Just like missing letters in a word, our minds are equipped to fill in the blanks. This process, called typoglycemia, also extends to visual cues. 


It is upon this process that the Miaz Brothers’ art functions. According to them, they seek to look at perception and not representation. It is about what the audience sees and relates to the image, more than what the artist intentionally represents in the works. In a world of hyper-information, the artist’s say, “the use of the senses and the capacity to decipher the incoming information that nowadays should be more and more important to discern.”


In an interesting analysis of their work, Jacopo Perfetti perfectly encapsulated the unique dynamics provoked by the Miaz Brothers, “In the portraits of the Miaz Brothers, the true portraitist is not the artist with his technique, but the observer and his imagination.” Our mind is happy with blurred images, but we also crave details. When we notice small things, our minds have a tendency to hold onto that information. When we are deprived of it, we default to creating our own.

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To do this, the audience must take time. These are not paintings that you can glance at and establish enough information from. They require time to think. Consolidating the brother's analytical view of the pervasiveness of technology, as touched upon by the artist’s comments on our consumption of information, the images they create are intentional in the effect they draw from their audience. We are supposed to be stopped in our tracks. It’s their goal to wrong-foot us. 


The muses of their art - often recognisable even in their blurred state - are still anonymous. We might associate these types of effects with faces that have been hidden for a particular reason, yet anonymity is no longer the de facto state for our lives. Through CCTV, video calls and the illicit access to our cameras, our faces are viewed multiple times per day. Nothing is hidden. Nothing is sacred.


Responding to our hyper-real reality are these defiant portraits, making stars out of the completely anonymous (or making anonymous out of complete stars). Their allure, like that of Daft Punk, comes from the fact that we truly cannot be certain of who we are looking at and in that mystery, they become whoever we want them to be. After all, the things we love the most are that in which we see most of ourselves.

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