Slovenian-born artist Gregor Kregar is primarily based in New Zealand after completing his Master of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland. Recognised for a diverse practice that engages with a range of materials, his work is known for its monumental scale that commands attention and subverts expectations.
I Appear and Disappear is an experimentation with the mundane, playing with scale and repetition. It exhibits a collection of sculptural self-portraits of the artist in orange overalls varying from life-sized to miniature. The making process first involved a full-sized cast of the artist, with each iteration cast from the previous form, resulting in a gradual reduction of size due to the slight shrinkage of clay as it dries and is fired. Kregar was interested in the idea of self-cloning and self-portraiture - it implied that in each doubling of yourself something gets lost, a sly commentary on the artistic ego in self-portraiture.
Historically portraits were tools used by the elite to project power, often commemorating the upper-class and privileged such as kings, heroes, and presidents. Instead, what is presented is a self-portrait of the artist as a worker gradually becoming invisible and consequently directly opposing such elitist conventions. Connected with Early Russian avant-garde and utopian beliefs of a socially conscious era, Kregar negotiates the boundaries of not only art and craft, but contemporary and traditional art practices. This examination of the figure in both contexts reveals a possibility of repositioning self-portraiture in current discourse.