To resume again...

Minds, Bodies and Other Problems

Three Conclusions

Hegel's Logic

The Subject Defined by Suffrage

The Three


A Mall Melodrama...

A Lemon

My Inflatable You

What Remains

Interview with
Wim Delvoye

Interview with
Sue Williams


Interview with Wim Delvoye


Josefina Ayerza

There is the mixing:
A Belgian artist speaks in English to an Argentinian art critic in New York. Her shoes were bought in Paris and her socks are from... well, they are made in Korea, but she bought them in Japan. In the background one can hear some piano music from a German composer, but it was actually bought at the airport in Italy. It happens all in one second. It happens all at the same time, it is like zapping — in five seconds one zaps from a Gulf war, to a soccer game, to a documentary, to people dying in Africa from AIDS, one sees it all at the same time.

There is the concrete:
You can see it out of the window.
The Russian social realist game poses the dialogue between the high and the low, and between the couch and the plebeian part. Brutal things one used to see in the street are now a monument.

There is the mixing, and there is the concrete:
There was the Stone Age and the Bronze Age, now we are living in a Concrete Age.

Multi-culture symbolizes our century:
Plebeian, like a shovel, it can pick up anything.
Anal, like a Concrete Mixer, it may transform it all.
Surreal, like a map, it creates the ultimate exotic.

So the monuments:
Illustrating this position; the mixture makes for the concrete.

Delvoye image


Abstracts of a Conversation with the Artist

Delvoye image

What is the figure in the sculpture supposed to be doing?
The figure is closing off his eyes with his fingers... his thumbs are closing his ears. He cannot perceive anything. No perception left, except through his anus, only his anus is seeing the universe.
So, the anus here, is functioning as a sense?
Yes, well, it's the only thing that sees... it looks like it's the only thing that can still see.
What is the viewer supposed to do?
The viewer is supposed to look through the microscope... then the eye of the viewer and the anus of the sculpture become one.
If the eye of the viewer and the anus become one, who is seeing? The eye or the anus?
It's just a game. You could say the anus is seeing, but of course the anus does not see... it just looks like that. No perception is left for the figure of the sculpture, the viewer is left with the sculpture; to look through for the universe. The mouth of the sculpture symbolizes the universe, the anus is symbolizing the viewer... there is this game. This dialogue is between the anus and the mouth and the viewer and the universe. The anus is actually symbolizing the material side of life, the mouth is symbolizing the spiritual... earth and heaven, truth and the ideal...
Anus — viewer — material, mouth of the statue — universe — ideal... this order is reversing the natural one.
Well, the way from the mouth to the anus is reversible.
In any case the trajectory seems to be shorter...
When I made the mark between the mouth and the anus I just made it shorter.
So you had a reason, a previous story let's say?
Everything in sculpture has its reasons, so a position of the hand, a position of the thumb, everything has a reason, you know... that the figure is male is also important because a male can more symbolize just the human anyway, while a female... it would be too cruel to use a female, especially as a male artist.
What is too cruel? to divide her, traverse her, go through her with a tube? if the case was a woman would the work have other connotations?
Yes, there is a distinct cruelty if you just think about this canal we have anyway, between your mouth and the anus.
Is it a cruelty of the body?
So it is cruel... is metabolism the problem?
Not just metabolism, this canal running from the mouth to the anus is quite cruel.
I don't know, it's just cruel
As the viewer's look reaches the figure's mouth, does it link to the breath, thus to the word? Delvoye image

You also could say the mouth is just seeing the light sent by the stars, and constipated by the light or the universe.
Constipated by the light of the universe?
Mmmhhmm. So the stars are sending light. Thousands of years ago, the stars sent some light to us, finally we received them.
Why four figures, are these the four cardinal points?
Yes, the four cardinal directions. In fact the installation is called Rose of Wind: north, east, west, and south.
Like a ritual?
Just like a ritual.
How do you include the viewer positioned behind each statue?
Well, the end of the telescope sticks out like a second phallus that can penetrate your eye. You have two figures; the viewer becomes this second figure.
So it's the eye of the viewer that's being penetrated?
Yes, by a second phallus which is the light of the stars.
A double possibility of copulation?
Oh, I wouldn't go so far as double copulation.
How does your work with the feces connect to this telescope here?
Well, they both have these deviant elements. The anus is something in the hierarchy of the body, just like shit... this thing we all throw away is also like an embassy of our body, and the interesting thing of feces is that everybody produces them. I was looking for a portrait of mankind, the one on the Voyager — they made a very sketchy drawing, a schematic plate of a male and a female with some particular characteristics — excludes a big part of our population. So while shit is a portion of mankind, it shows no difference between gender, race, age, class, or anything else. The new president of America goes to the toilet just like a beggar on the street.
You mean there is no difference?
It is a final portrait, it makes no difference... it's the true population, and an actual picture of the universe you could send in the Voyager.
The very animal trait?
Yes, but that is what we actually are after all. There were three big accidents. The first, Copernicus, we are not the center of the universe. The second accident was Darvin, who discovered that we came from animals. The third accident was Freud's discovery, that we don't know what we are doing. We are not the center of the universe, we evolved from animals, we don't know what we are doing. I want to portray human beings as a kind of organic living being, that's what they are actually, an organism.
What about heroes, do they also function as an organism?
I always was fascinated that heroes never had to go to the toilet. As a kid I couldn't understand that: how could they not go to the toilet? I never saw James Bond going to the toilet while he was jumping, he's done everything except going to the toilet. He would fly helicopters and fast trains... but he never went to the toilet.
Maybe there is something not human in play, like a god...
If you really want to show a portrait of mankind you have to look for the humanness.


Photographs of Wim Delvoye's Windroos, Xrub'se, and Concrete Mixer S. P. II Courtesy Sonnabend Gallery. 

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