(image: Saddle by Janine Antoni)

Janine Antoni is an artist whose work is tied to the senses and how we experience and engage with the world through the physical. Instead of focusing purely on how the art object looks, her approach is more likely to draw the viewer into an engagement through touch, smell, taste, or sound and into the process of how the work comes to be. This approach draws us into our perception of how we make choices, take actions and experience the world, whether she manipulates chocolate sculptures with her mouth or mops the gallery floor with her hair. Antoni observes,

Performance wasn’t something that I intended to do. I was doing work that was about process, about the meaning of the making, trying to have a love-hate relationship with the object. I always feel safer if I can bring the viewer back to the making of it. I try to do that in a lot of different ways, by residue, by touch, by these processes that are basic to all of our lives…

For Saddle, the artist made a cast of herself on all fours and then draped it with a soaked sheet of cowhide. After the skin hardened she removed the cast, so that the cowhide became a freestanding entity that delineated the outline where her body had vacated. Forming a sort of womb-like glove or membrane between where her own body met the borders of the exterior world without and the delineating line between the absent space her body occupied and the discreet world into which it inhabits. In a room it presents as something tactile, mortal skin, a sort of yellowish-brown and luminous rind, tracing the articulation between toes or hip, shoulders, but in other places more abstract, drapes that obscure the original lines, a general outline like the inhabitants of Pompeii—which comprise an entire life and sum, all the choices an individual may have made in an entire duration, but ultimately rendered as a human form only in the most general sense.

Every choice put into action makes something concrete, trace and congealed, giving it form and fitting as perfect glove between these intangible desires or considerations that are fleeting and the decisions we choose to make through physical choices. Giving decisive weight to these impulses, tendencies, and experiences; giving them form and a vantage for our experience. Taking an irresolute lack, giving form and stepping forward as the tangible that reveals.

This was part of an Insight Reading and go here to find out more. Also, please join for more info or notifications of upcoming projects and events.


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