To resume again...

Reflections on the Formal Envelope of the Symptom

Infancy: Boys/Girls

The Certainty of Hysteria

Sacrifice and our Destiny


Angel Atrapado X

Interview with
Suzan Etkin

Interview with
Meyer Vaisman

Jenny Watson


Suzan Etkin


Josefina Ayerza

Machinery that rubs onto clothing. Its temper is straight, its motions foul. The more it wipes the more it grows thirsty. By block, dwelling, it follows a course. Not diverted to a different course, each garment is grime penetrated. The machine works each surface, puts it in work, gives it work. It draws on, moistens, their hard and trapped particles. Jolting does away with some stains. Chemicals do not eliminate ink, paint, peach juice.

Hangers that trim up space; their breathing shakes the sequins of buoyant, shaped, materials. The more they add, the more they evoke-the past, absence, treasures up against imposture in the spectre of worn fancy dresses. The worn in line, afloat: skirts, pants, jackets, tread close upon each other; not singled-out, white undersleeves break into the circle. Mechanical motion flies these sleeves in the air; trails their shadow along the floor. Hangers could be dancing. Al limes, apparel will grow heavier, pause; the past does not interfere with the multiple rings fastened to multiple hangers.

Transparency that prefigures the body sees through, or, the dressing undresses the body. The more it veils the more it brings through. By dress shaping it follows conception. Not deviant in its directional fold, each robe is deep-felt, pervading. Transparency shows a dress through the other, gives it to the other. It makes colors, it shadows their strong, strict tones. Shadowing excludes some marks. Conception does not include signs, evidence, numbers.

Dry-clean: The robe makes the monk, the woman makes a dress. The machine reeled-its feet are locked, are being subjects of that gesture-but to see that signal I had to stop.


Etkin image Abstracts of a conversation with the artist


JA - I think I would ask about the dressing...

SE - There is a great Blaise Cendrars poem, "On the Dress There Was a Body."

JA - To begin even without the dress.

SE - The dresses are patterns of a generic body shape. You can't wear my dresses. They are not made for anybody, they really are generic clothes, the idea of clothes.

JA - Generic...

SE - Generic, meaning that they imply the dress, or imply the pants, but they are not wearable... They are both male and female. Genderless...

JA - Generic, genderless...

SE - Yes. I actually think of all these as paintings... colors, texture, movement...

JA - How does the movement come into the painting?

SE - The gesture...

JA - The gesture of the rack?

SE - The gesture of its movement. There was a timer included in the piece to regulate its movement, its rotation... I'm interested in the gesture. I 'm interested in the inbetweeness of gesture, that empty but full space, between this gesture and that gesture.

JA - Quietness...

SE - Yes, which to me implies emptiness and fullness... I did play around with the timing intervals, the timing between the stopping and starting...

JA - The rack does not move...?

SE - The formal elements of the piece are two poles that stand dead center, flat footed, immovable. The rack revolves around them, and the poles are very much like feet.

JA - Two poles, two legs...

SE - Yes. And they are very firmly planted. Look how much they are like feet . . . It is a rack completely, I did not modify the machine at all. The rack moves around, it is cyclical, yet very firmly planted on the ground.

JA - Where would you place the viewer in the work?

SE - I like collaboration between the viewer and myself. When you walk around the piece, when the piece is moving, you become a part of the piece.

JA - As the dresses raise they seem to empty... do they then take the viewer in?

SE - Some people view the work as very funny, see the humor in it. Other people find the work to be morbid, deathlike. I can understand both those responses because the work contains both.

JA - Where would the sense of humor be?

SE - In its silliness. I take a common place object and transform it into something else.

JA - Can I put it on or not? They are just to the point where you have to think about it.

SE - It is more interesting to have just the idea. To be so close to looking like the real thing, but not being the real thing. I guess somebody could fit into these dresses. We could find a body, maybe a five year old, tall, girl...

JA - But the death part...

SE - The ghostly transparency of the dresses, their emptiness, the procession. Death plays a major part in my work.

JA - Repetition?

SE - There is repetition in the movement, it is cyclical And there is a leaving of the body.

JA - Dry Clean?

SE - The idea of dry clean. I didn't think of this before, I just thought of it now, the idea of Dry Clean... when you die you're buried, and they put you in your best dress or your best suit, then over a period of time the clothes remain, so it is a Dry Clean. The cleanliness is the death too.


Susan Etkin:
details from Untitled (Dryclean series) #1, 1990

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