Lost Binder

Jeff Wall’s The Mantid

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In Wall’s most recent work, The Mantid (ciba-chrome), we notice the subtle suggestion into his signature back-lit pictorial frame of the spaces of global capital, signified by the sponsorship on the cyclist’s skin-tight apparel. The viewer is shocked by the distorted and irrational posture, nearly expressionist and evocative of Artaud’s theater of cruelty, or Acconci’s self defeating body-art. The clenched fists allude powerfully to the re-modeling of the body by technology and competition, as well as to the salute of socialist solidarity and the thrusting arms of the mural art proletariat. Within the discourse of art history the positioning of the model on the chair alludes to Duchamp’s first readymade, though Wall has executed a clever displacement of the wheel, now found resting on the floor. Thus this work encodes a dadaist gesture, subverting the fascist kitsch of Leni Reifenstahl’s celebrated athlete portraits. acconci


Written by Jesse Huisken

February 14, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Posted in Art

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