When we try to create a likeness of someone - whether it is a conventional painted or sculpted portrait or a depiction in words, in the style of Baeza -, we come up against a problem: no one is the sum of their facial expressions, their physical characteristics or the things that have happened to them during their lives. There will always be gaps in the information that we have to fill in with our imaginations to discover the very essence of a person. It is then that our perceptions, artistic sensibilities and a technique akin to psychomagic all come into play, revealing secondary aspects that are still fundamental in describing a person.
It is no easy task to portray someone today, since our identities as humans tend to be inconsistent, non-permanent and subject to change. According to post-modern theories on individual identity, human beings offer very little leeway for the identification of characteristics that can distinguish one person from another and serve to describe them. Almost all these theories claim that it is no longer possible to find individuals distinguishable from one another. Such is today’s level of media control that it is very hard to differentiate the individual from the crowd.
We are subjected to a continuous media avalanche of information about ourselves that distorts our realities, complicating the image that we project to the outside world and, in turn, making it much harder to describe our singularities.
Enrique Baeza questions this prevailing discourse and he upholds the return of personal exchanges as the only valid kind of communication. He defends the “tête-à-tête” as a true form of communication and as salvation from censorship and media noise. To capture the emotional and symbolic state of each of the people that he portrays, Baeza uses the same method.
Through conversation on a personal theme, based on a series of questions designed to elicit a quick automatic response that conveys his interviewees’ most immediate thoughts, he peers into his interlocutors’ heads. From this, he manages to chart their personalities by selecting the keywords that best describe them.