It was a long journey, lasting many years. More than 3,000 portraits, thousands of faces, cheekbones, eyes, lips, noses. A journey into gazes and thoughts. Until a revolutionary idea came to light. “I wondered why everyone was interested in the face and never what was behind it”. This was how the young Taiwanese artist, Page Tsou, explained his series of portraits entitled The And. Tsou began to sketch the backs of people’s necks, to discover what’s back there, and the project title makes it clear: “And”, meaning there is something more, that things should been seen from every point of view.
The idea is revolutionary because it places the observer in front of a clear truth, and yet it is something that has never been understood before. Hair and hairstyles, the cut of the nape, baldness, disorderliness, are very personal signs that distinguish people. Just like the face, the back of the head is able to provide a great quantity of information, and it does something else: it pushes us to ask what type of face is hidden on the other side of the head. This is something that never happens with traditional portraits, which satisfy the viewer and make them into merely an observer.
Page Tsou made this idea his life philosophy. In another project, Rainy Days and Mondays, he created a calendar with miniature portraits of heads. The title of the project was taken from a Carpenters song (“Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down”). Tsou seeks to overturn the common idea that Monday is the worst day of the week. Just like his portraits, the artist tries to demonstrate that beyond consolidated truth there is something to discover, even on Mondays, even if it rains. And he wishes to help us in doing this.
The series The And and Rainy Days and Mondays were presented during a pop-up exhibition in a historic London barbershop with the barbers dressed in vintage garb, the walls and ceiling covered in hundreds of napes, hair, and hair styles. Then again, where else but a barbershop, where the barber has always been the first artist to recognise people by their heads.