End of Mainstream Media Report #2
Pigment based inks, oil, acrylic, silicone and polyoptics on canvas.
Cathy Lebowitz interviews Josefina Ayerza
Cathy: In this show he is making a connection between the violence of war, sex and painting. One form flows into the next as you walk around the room. The in the video, sculpture and painting, the violence of sex is presented slightly differently. In the painting, it is the female as object of the gaze, that he presents as a kind of violence. How do you see the women in the paintings, looking out with a sexual stare?
JA: The skin of the arm burning in the video, so vivid, strikes me as the kind of injury, of outrage, that comes from the actual terrorist attacks with the suicidal bombers... in the look of what just happened in the island of Bali for instance. This arm didn't look at all like a soldier's arm. I say it was an unprepared arm and skin so completely exposed to such danger... to the point that it was even withdrawing from it.
As it often occurs with artists there's beauty if you look at the colors of the skin and fire, but the fact of seeing this kind of beauty brings about the certain disgust that entails guilt.
CL: This mention of guilt and beauty makes me think of two things. First of all when I see an artist turn the terrible into beauty, I don't feel guilty so much as surprised to see that in the horrible, in the pain, and the destruction also can be found this beautiful.... as if beauty doesn't discriminate. Is beauty amoral? I've been reading Peter Singer's essays on ethics. I wonder what he would say...
Secondly, it is funny you mention beauty in this show. My first encounter in the gallery with this work took 2 minutes, as I was repelled, not only by a vague notion of the subject, but by the physical mess of it all. However I returned, with a mind to see it. To see through the mess. And it was very powerful. I suppose the beauty of this show is frightening, even repellent. It is not a neat clean bourgeois attractivness, but something more challenging.
JA: Violence in the female as object of the gaze... the viewer is certainly involved in the sort of seduction with which the woman pushes her face - mouth and body towards him. But is the violence coming from the woman as per se...?
I don't think so. I say this is a masculin projected violence, that she gets invested with it.
CL: I agree that the violence of the woman's attitude is a masculine projection.
In fact the violence of war seems to be a masculine fantasy in a way. Do you think so?
JA: Actually this is Lacan's Woman - the one that does not exist.
Thus and so the big sized one - in this she looks like an archetype...
CL: I thought the idea of an archtypal woman was exactly what Lacan means "does not exist."
JA: or the many up to infinity - so much she doesn't exist that she is being the same image in endless projection.
The violence of war is not a fantasy, I wouldn't say so - war is violent.
What is a fantasy is woman set up in the universal, as well as the sexual - man's fantasy partakes of the universal as well (the woman walking naked, her hands tied, a soldier walking beside her holding a rifle).
In another painting there's a woman, naked, behind bars of rope. To my surprise the artist referred to the scene as the most gentle of situations, as to its sweetness... Like the lacanian subject the artist is divided, isn't he?
CL: If Marcaccio is projecting violence onto the woman then having her behind bars of rope would be safer, her look, her sexuality vanquished by the merging with the rope. How does that show the divided subject?
JA: Precisely. Marcaccio is "barring" the woman. Also Lacan "barred" her - he barred the article in "(the) woman." That shows that in that - in the act of barring - the subject is dividing itself. (The fact of separating two aspects of woman - non-existing/the existing one). The non-existing woman exists in the symbolic (words, language: i.e. she talks too much), at once she comes up in fantasy...
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