HomePortraits/autoportraits in the artistic practices of the Mediterranean region: an overlooked site?

HomePortraits/autoportraits in the artistic practices of the Mediterranean region: an overlooked site?

Portraits/autoportraits in the artistic practices of the Mediterranean region: an overlooked site?

Portraits/autoportraits dans les pratiques artistiques du pourtour méditerranéen : une tendance méconnue ?

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Published on Tuesday, December 18, 2018


The journal focuses on Film Studies, Theater Studies and Visual Arts in general, in the MENA region as well as Mediterranean countries. It is published twice a year and is trilingual (French, English and Arabic). It comprises a call for papers section, a Varia section and a reviews section. For its second issue, Regards launches a call for papers for its thematic dossier as well as for its Varia section.



The portrait and the autoportrait hold a prominent position in Art History. Painting and Literature, as well as Theater, Cinema and the Visual Arts, have all been trying to grasp, with their own artistic devices, the features of an individual, known or unknown, whereas various writers and artists have focused, at a particular moment, on the representation of the self.

For the painter, the portrait – an artistic representation of a specific person – allows him to trace, through the features of the face and the body, the psychological profile and the inherent nature of the subject. While the portrait has long been considered as a sub-genre compared to the major religious, mythical or historical subjects, it started establishing itself since the Seventeenth century, placing again the subject at the heart of aesthetic and philosophical research. As André Félibien wrote in 1667, the human face is the perfect work of God on Earth, and the one that succeeds to imitate it can claim excellence. More than “configuring the individual’s representation, the portrait is the figure of the individual in representation” (Goldberg, 13). On the other hand, the autoportrait, firstly in paintings and then in visual arts, is a “self-realization of the subject” and, through it, “an affirmation of the artist’s power”, but also of his/her concerns and of his/her troubled existentialist quest (Loubet, 137).

In film, the portrait occupies a special place, in documentaries and experimental practices, but without generating as of yet critical and academic studies proportionate to the existing production. Through portraits that film creates based on historical, public, familial or anonymous figures, cinema experiments with its own capacity to probe an individual’s interiority, and to capture, by the ways of film language, the place of the subject in his/her society and the World. As for the autoportrait, Cinema, as much as Painting or Literature, makes possible a discourse on the self: Cinema and later Video art (with technical material easier to handle), allows many filmmakers, “established or not, to create and talk about themselves and their lives in ‘cinematic form’” (Grange, 13).

What about artistic practices in the Arab region and the Mediterranean countries? What roles do the portrait and the autoportrait play in the contemporary experimental, documentary and fictional practices? In a region marked by violence and exile, self-reflection seems to be an escape from the real world, revealing a non-belonging to the world, a feeling inherited by past, recent and future generations of war… Portraits and autoportraits translate a need for memory, an assaulted memory of which one must seize some characteristics, to be able to face the world and confront History.

In that respect, and through aesthetic as well as cultural approaches, we aim to address the question of the pertinence of the portrait and the autoportrait in the socio-cultural and political contexts of a specific artistic practice, within the Arab countries and, by extension, the countries of the Mediterranean as primary sites of analysis. What roles do those pictural conventions play in Memory Studies of societies going through crisis? What does it reveal of the role and place of the artist within his/her own society?

The main axes of research covered by this issue include, but not exclusive, to the following topics:

  • Portraits, autoportraits and group portraits in the Arab World Mediterranean countries (Cinema, Visual Arts, Video Art, Literature, Television…).
  • Biography (documentary, fiction…) and autobiography.
  • Representations of the body and the face (focal point of the portrait?) in the artistic practices of the Arab World and the Mediterranean region.
  • The question of the portrait in relation to archetypes, in fiction and in the definition of fictional characters.
  • The portrait, autoportrait and group portrait in contemporary documentary films.

The peer-reviewed journal Regards – revue des arts du spectacle is published by the Institut d’Etudes Scéniques, Audiovisuelles et Cinématographiques (IESAV) of the Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth (USJ).

The contributors need to submit their text in one of the following languages: French, English or Arabic. Please send your contribution to the following electronic address: regards@usj.edu.lb

Before April 15 2019

The mail must include:

  • The article (35000 characters, space included, Word document).
  • The abstract (approx. 500 words).
  • A short biography (approx. 100 words) – on a separate Word document.

The articles will be assessed by the editorial committee and submitted to a double blind evaluation. The authors will be informed of the reading committee’s decision by mid-June.

Scientific Committee

The journal has an editorial committee, a reading committee, as well as a scientific committee. The first scientific committee, nominated for three years, is as follows:

  • Elie Yazbek, Associate Professor (IESAV, Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, Liban – président du comité scientifique)
  • Ghada Sayegh, Assistant Professor (IESAV, Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, Liban)
  • Toufic El-Khoury, Assistant Professor (IESAV, Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, Liban)
  • Karl Akiki, Assistant Professor (Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, Liban)
  • Jacqueline Nacache, Professor (Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7, France)
  • José Moure, Professor (Université Paris Panthéon Sorbonne – Paris 1, France)
  • Fabien Boully, Assistant Professor (Université Paris Nanterre, France)
  • André Habib, Professor (Université de Montréal, Canada)
  • Dalia Mostafa, Assistant Professor (University of Manchester, Angleterre)
  • Hamid Aidouni, Professor (Université Abdelmalek Essaadi, Maroc)

Editor-in-chief: Joseph Korkmaz, Professor (Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, Liban)

Bibliography (indicative)

BAILBLE, Claude et NOUEL, Thiery (dir.) (2016). Filmer seul-e, Paris, La revue Documentaire, numéro 26/27, 367p.

BEAUJOUR, Michel (1980). Miroirs d’encre. Rhétorique de l’autoportrait, Paris, Seuil, 348 p.

BEAUVAIS, Yann (2004). "Autoportrait dans le cinéma". Zeuxis, n°14, Paris.

BELLOUR, Raymond (1990). L’entre-images. Photo, cinéma, vidéo, Paris, Éditions de la Différence, 2002, 291 p.

BINH, N. T., MOURE, José (dir.) (2015). Documentaire et fiction. Allers-retours, Les impressions nouvelles, coll. Caméras subjectives, 183 p.

CARRIER, Jean-Pierre (2016). Dictionnaire du cinéma documentaire, Paris, Vendémiaire, 563p.

Didi-Huberman, Georges (1994). « Ressemblance mythifiée et ressemblance oubliée chez Vasari : la légende du portrait sur le vif », Mélanges de l'Ecole française de Rome. Italie et Méditerranée, vol. 106, no 2, p. 383-432.

Lien URL : http://www.persee.fr/docAsPDF/mefr_1123-9891_1994_num_106_2_4334.pdf

Flahutez, Fabrice & Goldberg, Itzhak & Volti, Panayota (dir.) (2010). Visage et portrait, visage ou portrait, Presses Universitaires de Paris Nanterre, 191p.

Lien URL : https://books.openedition.org/pupo/936

GOURCAT, Juliette (2016). Mises en « je ». Autobiographie et film documentaire, Presse Universitaire de Provence, « Arts », 282 p.

Grange, Marie-Françoise (2008). L’autoportrait en cinéma, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, « Le spectaculaire », 116p.

LEHMAN, Boris (2016). Histoire de ma vie racontée par mes photographies, Paris, Crisnée, Yellow Now, « Dis-Voir », 191 p.

Lejeune, Philippe (1996). Le pacte autobiographique, Paris, Seuil , 382p.

Loubet, Christian (2003). « La représentation de l’image de soi dans la peinture occidentale de Léonard à Rembrandt », Cahiers de la Méditerranée [en ligne], no 66, p. 137-150. Lien URL : https://journals.openedition.org/cdlm/108

MEKAS, Jonas (2001). Déclarations de Paris / Statements from Paris. Les Cahiers de Paris Expérimental, Paris, 32p.

MEKAS, Jonas (2001). Movie Journal. The Rise of a New American Cinema (1959-1971) , New York, Collier Books/Macmillan, 534p.

NANCY, Jean-Luc (2000). Le regard du portrait, Paris, Galilée, 104p.

POULET, Georges (1977). Entre moi et moi, essais critiques sur la conscience de soi, Paris, José Corti, 277p.

Rueda, Amanda (2014). « Du portrait cinématographique documentaire au portrait en sciences de l’information et de la communication », Sciences de la société [en ligne], no 92, p. 177-191. Lien URL : https://journals.openedition.org/sds/1226

SITNEY, P. Adams (2001). Pour présenter Brakhage. Paris, Paris Expérimental, 32p.

TAMRAZ, Nayla (2010). Proust portrait peinture. Paris, Orizons, « Universités », 254p.

Tinel, Muriel (2006). « Le cinéma et l’autoportrait. De l’expression de soi à l’expérience d’un support », Hors-champ [en ligne], consulté le 16 novembre 2018. Lien URL : https://www.horschamp.qc.ca/spip.php?article220

Todorov, Tzvetan (2004). Eloge de l'individu : essai sur la peinture flamande de la Renaissance, Paris, Seuil, « Points essais », 2004, 288p.


  • Monday, April 15, 2019


  • Méditerranée, monde arabe, cinéma, théâtre, pratiques artistiques, portrait, autoportrait


  • Toufic El-Khoury
    courriel : toufic [dot] khoury [at] usj [dot] edu [dot] lb

Information source

  • Elie Yazbek
    courriel : Regards [at] usj [dot] edu [dot] lb


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Portraits/autoportraits in the artistic practices of the Mediterranean region: an overlooked site? », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, December 18, 2018, https://calenda.org/534740

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