The Lifeshape – or simply a portrait, or rather a specific type of a portrait; It is an image (or better: a visualization) of a given person in the 3D technique. The creation of such portrait is divided into several stages and assumes close cooperation between the artist and the person having his or her portrait made. The result is a portrait which is abstract with respect to the form but very personalized when it comes to the content. The clash of these two seemingly contradictory orders (a portrait, by theory, assumes the closest possible reproduction of the traits of the person being the subject of the portrait) results in a very forceful visual and intellectual effect.
First, the person having his or her portrait made receives a detailed questionnaire from the artist (over 100 questions), which covers nearly all “parameters” of human life: health, age, interests, professional career, personal life, sexual life, education, travels, etc. Then he / she marks the answers as precisely as possible on a scale, after which he / she sends the questionnaire back to the artist. Norman Leto applies some sort of “doctor-patient privilege” here – he does not share the data received with anyone.
Then, the artist introduces the data received to a specially created program, functioning on the basis of an algorithm. The computer processes the terms of the questionnaire, transforming digital data into spatial forms. This is a relatively time-consuming process: depending on the level of complication, the computer may process the data received from several to several dozen hours.
The end result is the title Lifeshape – abstract but organic form with delicate, characteristic features. The last stage of creating such portrait is printout on high quality form and framing [the suggested minimal dimensions are 90 x 90 cm – the Lifeshape has a considerable amount of detail]. The artist has also created portraits of public and historical personages, basing on data provided in books and on the Internet.
The Lifeshape is a unique portrait: on the one hand, it is “dehumanized”, and, on the other hand, it is developed according to detailed data regarding the life of the person in the painting; on the one hand, it is extravert to the maximum, exposing the details of the client’s life, and on the other hand, it is “veiled”, invisible, covered behind an abstract figure – clear only for the interested parties; it is made by a computer, but basing on “human” data; it is always individual and unique with respect to the form – just as every single life is unique. It is a specific sculpture arranged in virtual space.
All of this makes the Lifeshape acquire an existential overtone; it is a very real image, an “internal portrait” in its strict sense. It does not have any artificial ornaments, hence it does not include falsity. Is this not the purpose of a good portrait? Norman Leto has created a cycle of Lifeshapes, including inter alia the lifeshapes of private clients, a former prisoner, actress Geraldine Chaplin, Polish artist Edward Krasiński, and Larry Page, the co-creator of Google."
Lifeshape is also part of a huge project called Sailor, it consists in a book written by Karolina Felberg and a film, see here the trailer.