Personal Relations

An international touring miniature-portrait exhibition

Curated by hARTslane (Cristiana Bottigella and Tisna Westerhof, London)

For more information about dates and venues please click  THE TOUR


In a time of global political anxiety, where national identities and borders are reinforced in the name of security and guarantees, Personal Relations intends to create unexpected and appealing international cultural bridges and to foster a sense of unity and collaboration alongside artistic excellence and innovation. The project aims to achieve this by curating the production of a collection of new works the size of a mobile phone created by artist members of different international artists’ associations.

This is an international touring exhibition where the large collection of miniature-portraits will attain something far greater than the sum of its parts. The project is not intended as an exchange but as a unique body that grows thanks to the contributions of each artist and organisation collectively. As the miniature portraits were originally made and often given as a political gift to a king or ambassador, the project also aims to strengthen international bonds on an artistic level. Over 150 artists were invited to respond to the history of the miniature-portrait and its attempt to capture the identity of the subject to create an intimate dialogue with the viewer. The smartphone screen also echoes the miniature-portrait, and has become the natural home of the 21st Century portrait, playing a treasured part in many people’s lives. The miniature-portraits will be presented in London at The Cello Factory, in December 2016. The touring exhibition will then travel to The Hague (The Netherlands, February 2017), Vicenza (Italy, April 2017) and elsewhere in Europe and beyond.

In particular, the project aspires to:

  • Create opportunities for artist collectives to work together internationally under a unique and inspiring conceptual framework, where artists are part of a process and not only of a result.

  • Foster new work and ground-breaking reinterpretations of the classic miniature portrait tradition to reach a larger and more diverse audience.

  •  Present portraits as ambassadors travelling from country to country: what message will they bring?

  • Research the significance of portraiture in an era of fast portrait making (selfies/Iphone)

  • Create long-lasting international connections and networking opportunities and a platform for cultural exchange.Our ambition is to develop the project to include other countries/associations of artists globally, keeping the growing exhibition on tour.

Curating team:
Cristiana Bottigella & Tisna Westerhof are a curatorial team, co-founders and directors of hARTslane, an experimental art project space in South East London (www.hartslane.org). They have curated many successful international art projects, including; ‘Deptford Stories’, ‘Silent Movies’, ‘Greetings from New Cross Gate’ and ‘The Venice Pavilion in London’

For a History of the Portrait Miniature

To read about the project in Italian

Poster image @ Teo Faust


Click here to watch the video of Personal Relations by This Is Not Art.