Jul
24
1975
<em>Roberta Construction Chart #2</em>
 

Lynn Hershman Leeson
Roberta Construction Chart #2, 1975
From the series Roberta Breitmore
C-print
24 x 32 in / 61 x 81 cm
Edition of 12

Traditional portraiture seeks to reveal the truth of an individual’s character and likeness through a stable medium like paint or photography. Roberta’s persona, however, was animated through the application of cosmetics, applied to a face as if it were a canvas, as well as through her participation in real-life adventures.

Roberta saw a psychiatrist, used a specific language, had unique handwriting, secured credit cards, a checking account, and a driver’s license. She maintained a small apartment, had her own clothing, and participated in the culture and trends of her time, like Weight Watchers and EST (Erhard Seminars Training). Surveillance photographs, artifacts, and discarded ephemera captured Robert’s experience and later provided credible proof that she existed.

Roberta was “born” into reality when she arrived in San Francisco on a Greyhound bus and checked into the Dante Hotel. She carried in cash her entire life savings of $1800.

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