05, Nonfacial Portrait, 2018, Face detection software, camera, computer, monitor, canvas, smartphone, table and wooden panel, Variable dimensions.

We’ve invited painters and asked them to make portrait paintings of a person. They had to follow one rule: “the face of the portrait must not be detected by computer vision.”

While the portrait is being made, a camera equipped with three face detection algorithms* watches the canvas and a monitor informs the painter if any face is detected. The painter would refer it and develop the painting. The face of the completed portrait should not be visible to any of the algorithms.

It is tricky. If one makes the portrait close to the human subject, computer vision will easily detect the face. And if one distorts the face too much, the painting would not be seen as a portrait of the person. One must find the small visual space that only humans can perceive.

In the installation, each portrait is presented along with the video of the painter’s process.


* OpenCV Face Detection, Dlib Face Detection and Joint Cascade Face Detection and Alignment.

  • Nonfacial Portrait (documentation video), 2018.

  • 00, Nonfacial Portrait, 2018

  • 01, Nonfacial Portrait, 2018

  • 02, Nonfacial Portrait, 2018

  • 03, Nonfacial Portrait, 2018

  • 04, Nonfacial Portrait, 2018

  • 06, Nonfacial Portrait, 2018

  • 07, Nonfacial Portrait, 2018

  • 08, Nonfacial Portrait, 2018

  • 09, Nonfacial Portrait, 2018

  • Nonfacial Portrait (installation view at Seoul Museum of Art, 2018), 2018, Face detection software, camera, computer, monitor, canvas, smartphone, table and wooden panel, 600 x 600 x 240 cm.

  • Nonfacial Portrait (installation view at Seoul Museum of Art, 2018), 2018, Face detection software, camera, computer, monitor, canvas, smartphone, table and wooden panel, 600 x 600 x 240 cm.

  • Nonfacial Portrait (installation view at Seoul Museum of Art, 2018), 2018, Face detection software, camera, computer, monitor, canvas, smartphone, table and wooden panel, 600 x 600 x 240 cm.

  • Nonfacial Portrait (installation view at Seoul Museum of Art, 2018), 2018, Face detection software, camera, computer, monitor, canvas, smartphone, table and wooden panel, 600 x 600 x 240 cm.

  • Nonfacial Portrait (installation view at Seoul Museum of Art, 2018), 2018, Face detection software, camera, computer, monitor, canvas, smartphone, table and wooden panel, 600 x 600 x 240 cm.

Participated painters:
Lee Yoonsang, Chang Wooju, Ahn Kwanghwee, Yoon Miryu, Yoonjung Kim, Hyein Hong, Cho Yu-jeong, Lee Hyun-Kyung, Kim Dae You and Shinah Lee.

Commissioned by Seoul Mediacity Biennale 2018