By Hanne Hagenaars

‘It is always a happy thought for me to realise how little we represent, as people. With this thought at the back of my mind, I can cope with the world, because there is nothing to lose’, says Tom Lore de Jong.

People come in all colours, heights, with and without legs, with and without hair, unusual or fairly average. The fixed details for a human being are fairly unalterable: a head, a body, arms, legs, gender, a human being can speak, hear, feel. But everyone who reads this list knows that this is not right. This is a statistical average of a human being. Some hear better than others. Some are taller than others. Their skin can be black, pink or yellowish. Nevertheless, these details can have an enormous impact on a human life and a deviance from the standard can have intense consequences: bullying, exclusion, even war.

The average skin colour, according to the artist Tom Lorenz de Jong in Group portrait, displays a curious pink with a darker hue. His portrait brings humanity together, like crumbs in a big shortbread cake.

‘I am fascinated by the confusion caused by large numbers. There are so many people in the world that you can’t imagine them. This means that if you try to imagine them, one person’s imagination wouldn’t come any further than a mere million, and another would imagine an exaggerated 88 billion. Most of us can’t imagine how many people make up 7 billion. I too am incapable of introducing someone to 7 million people. All the different people disappearing in an impossibly large entity; which means the variations also become so unimportant. What I have done, is to describe them in the smallest possible way, which has resulted in a digital composition in which the onlooker is confronted, face-to-face, with every person on the earth, including himself.’