Sid and Carly: Alienating Identity
“I’ve only been in love with a beer bottle and a mirror.”—Sid Vicious
That is perhaps a bit extreme but would you expect anything else from The Sex Pistols bassist? But the statement is not with some universal truth. Did Sid say he thinks love is just a chemical thing, a buzz, which wears off and must be re-dosed? Or did he think love really only being feeling good about seeing oneself as being (a being) deserving/receiving love?
On to the art. The picture in the picture is inspired by a mid-19th century photograph of two women ( one uptight and one loose) and a somewhat dissolute man. I have exaggerated the contrast between the women and made the one man into two; an introspective academic and the corporate functionary who is neither introspective nor academic. Both are common denizens of my pictures.
Ms. Uptight and the scholar flirt while he helps Ms. Loose adjust the mirror to identify and conflate him with a third man who’s not in the picture that’s in the picture but is painting it there. The artist/academic then reflects on the reflection and attempts to analyze—disassemble—himself both as academic verbally, and as artist visually.
Paralleling the changes of a child toddling though psychologist Jacques Lacan’s “Mirror Stage,” the artist becomes the academic then the functionary, beginning as disembodied feelings and unsuccessful gestures he ends up as, as according to Lacan said, in an “armor of an alienating identity.” The disembodied —ironically “corporate” —functionary now dominates all, mimicking the artist/academic and embraces both the resisting Ms. Uptight and the accommodating Ms. Loose.
Am I saying that to create/appreciate art is just a chemical thing, a buzz, which wears off and must be re-dosed? Or is art really only being feeling good about seeing oneself as being (a being) able to create/appreciate art?
“You had one eye in the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte.” —Carly Simon