WAX PENCIL AND ACRYLIC ON PLASTIC; SPRAY PAINT ON STYROFOAM; WINDOW (INSIDE AND OUTSIDE VIEWS) and TUBE LIGHTS
H 115CM X W 64CM X D 36CM
H 45-1/4IN X W 25-3/8IN X 14-3/8IN
WAX PENCIL, ACRYLIC AND FAUX GOLD PAINT ON PLASTIC; STYROFOAM, POLE AND SNAKE LIGHT (BEHIND)
H 200CM X W 140CM
H 6FT 6-3/4IN X W 55-1/8IN
VERSION 5.0, DETAIL #3 - SIDE VIEW, WITH SNAKE LIGHT
DRAWING / PAINTING AS SCULPTURE
WAX PENCIL, ACRYLIC AND FAUX GOLD PAINT ON PLASTIC; STYROFOAM AND POLE
H 203CM X W 151CM X D 131CM
H 7FT 6-1/2IN X W 60IN X D 4FT 3-1/2IN
VERSION 4.0, DETAIL #1
VERSION 4.0 - BACK VIEW
WAX PENCIL, INDIA INK, ACRYLIC AND FAUX GOLD PAINT ON BLACK PAPER
H 203CM X W 152CM
H 6FT 8IN X W 4FT 11-13/16IN
VERSION 3.0, DETAIL #1
VERSION 3.0, DETAIL #2
VERSION 3.0, DETAIL #3
WAX PENCIL, INDIA INK, ACRYLIC AND FAUX GOLD PAINT ON WHITE PAPER
H 150CM X W 138CM
H 4FT 11IN X W 4FT 6-3/8IN
VERSION 2.0, DETAIL #1
VERSION 2.0, DETAIL #2
MIXED MEDIA AND GRAPHITE ON BLACK PAPER
H 152CM X W 138CM
H 59-7/8IN X W 54-5/16IN
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LEARN AND DESTROY SERIES
French writer, critic and semiotician Roland Barthes outlines the paradoxical natures of appearances as embodied in the spectacles of ornamental cookery, wrestling, and striptease; chapters which I have chosen from his book, Mythologies.
“Parisian striptease – is based on a contradiction: Woman is desexualized at the very moment when she is stripped naked ... a spectacle based on fear.
[...] the furs, the fans, the gloves, the feathers, the fishnet stockings, in short, the whole spectrum of adornment, constantly makes the living body return to the category of luxurious objects which surround man with a magical décor ... and give her something like the enveloping memory of a luxurious shell ... the nakedness which follows remains itself unreal, smooth and enclosed like a beautiful slippery object, withdrawn by its very extravagance from human use: this is the underlying significance of the G-String covered with diamonds ... This ultimate triangle, by its pure and geometrical shape, by its hard and shiny material, bars the way to the sexual parts like a sword of purity, and definitively drives the woman back into a mineral world ... the irrefutable symbol of the absolute object, that which serves no purpose.”^79
Striptease and adornment, like gender-assigned roles, is a contradiction. I view this as an exaggeration, a facade of appearances - a masquerade of role-playing. I liken this to Camp and homosexual taste within Susan Sontag’s 1964 “Notes on Camp”. Within her text, she summates that Camp taste and humor is meant to throw off the politics of the status quo. Appearances of overt flamboyant feminine females of bottle-bleached bouffants and blossoming bosoms of present day – Pamela Anderson, Anna Nicole-Smith, and Madonna - and their equivalents via sporty, studly action-hero exaggeration of he-man-ness^80 - Vin Diesel, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, and David Beckham – are extremes in their extremities, or lack thereof, within their gender-roles. They play up their gender, and at times appear comical.
Such as in the minute case of make-up as an accentuation, rather then an exaggeration and distraction of features. Make- up can serve as a mask, an armor of protection when the wearer knows they are being watched. To paraphrase the thoughts of English art critic John Berger, “women watch themselves being looked at.” Make-up allows oneself to be concealed yet appear naked while in plain site in public - similar to the folklore of Lady Godiva who rode through the streets,
on a horse, naked yet clothed only in her hair. With make-
up, a great painter knows how the features and hues of the face work. When make-up is overdone or applied without the consideration of the wearer, the wearer becomes a hyperreal of their gender, an imitation of an imitation, instead of appreciating and working with their unique beauty.
Circling back to exaggerations and the spectacle of appearances, they are attractive to the majority because they are clear, definite and therefore safe in the spectrum of gender and role. There is no fuzz of ambiguity. Susan Sontag also mentions the epicene, or as how I interpret: Iman, David Bowie and even his contemporary, Tilda Swinton. They are extreme cases of indeterminateness of their gender, which makes them attractive.
So, what makes the world go round? What keeps us distracted from the real, from seeing a truth, a truth in life and within our authentic selves? Drama! Theater! Illusions ... and it can be pretty entertaining.
79. Barthes, Roland. Mythologies. New York: The Noonday Press, 1975. Print. pp. 84-85.
80. Sontag, Susan. “Notes on ‘Camp’”. Against Interpretation and Other Essays. New York: Picador, 1964. 1-11. PDF/Print. p. 3.
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