I Am He As You Are He As You Are Me

I Am He As You Are He As You Are Me
Pigment print on Hahnemühle cotton rag, framed, museum glass
26 cm x 26 cm
Edition of 6 + 2 AP

I Am He As You Are He As You Are Me is an intimately revealing self-portrait that explores the concept of transition. The work delves into my lived experience with mental health and the transformative journey I am undertaking to restructure the very essence of my existence. Within this pondering portrayal, I assume the role of a bridge, delicately spanning the gap between two distinct realms—the physical and the digital. My fascination with these realms lies in the disparity between ever-evolving digital entities and the immutable nature of non-digital static objects, such as a chair, a painting, or a photograph. These stable entities remain untethered from the need to adapt, transform, or update, embodying what appears to be resolute permanence when compared to the digital realm. Throughout my personal journey, I have often contemplated the delicate balance between the fluidity of the digital world and the unwavering stability of the physical realm. In essence, the portrait represents my yearning for enduring stability amidst the perpetual flux of change.


“Kailum Graves’ self portrait and his reflection on the ambivalence of the stable and unstable becomes even more crucial since the ‘original’ behind this image is a digital photograph, in which the artist doesn’t show his face. Rather, his face is painted with real colours of the entire spectrum. The materiality of the real world with its stable substances stands in the greatest possible contrast to the equally ‘motley’ digital version, now as the other facet of the self: the digital self. Therefore, the physical dimension of this self-portrait is what is ‘at stake’: the longing for stability emerges from the experience of the ‘fluid’ or ‘transformative’ and thus ‘unstoppable’ of the digital. But the ‘original,’ i.e., the person and his body behind it, is also not visible and never has been–given the fact that the original portrait is a painted-over self, one hidden behind the mask.”

Dr Selin Gerlek
Ass. Prof. in Philosophy of Technology and Politics
Department of Philosophy
University of Amsterdam