|Janine Antoni, ‘Touch’ (2002)|
Janine Antoni was born in Freeport, Bahamas in 1964. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, and earned her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1989. Antoni’s work blurs the distinction between performance art and sculpture. Transforming everyday activities such as eating, bathing, and sleeping into ways of making art, Antoni’s primary tool for making sculpture has always been her own body. She has chiseled cubes of lard and chocolate with her teeth, washed away the faces of soap busts made in her own likeness, and used the brainwave signals recorded while she dreamed at night as a pattern for weaving a blanket the following morning. In the video, “Touch,” Antoni appears to perform the impossible act of walking on the surface of water. She accomplished this magician’s trick, however, not through divine intervention, but only after months of training to balance on a tightrope that she then strung at the exact height of the horizon line. Balance is a key component in the related piece, “Moor,” where the artist taught herself how to make a rope out of unusual and often personal materials donated by friends and relatives. By learning to twist the materials together so that they formed a rope that was neither too loose nor too tight, Antoni created an enduring life-line that united a disparate group of people into a unified whole. Antoni has had major exhibitions of her work at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, S.I.T.E. Santa Fe, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. The recipient of several prestigious awards including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship in 1998 and the Larry Aldrich Foundation Award in 1999, Janine Antoni currently resides in New York.
(“I soaked my hair in dye and mopped the floor with it”) - Janine Antoni, 1992 performance art at the Anthony D’Offay Gallery in London.
Janine Antoni - Conduit
My brother told me stories about Anne Bonnet, an Irish-American woman who masqueraded as a male pirate in the Caribbean during the 18th century. One of the ways Bonnet deflected suspicion about her double identity was by using a ceramic apparatus that enabled her to urinate standing up. As a young girl, I was fascinated with the idea of Anne Bonnet’s device. Recently, I encountered commercially made objects designed exactly for this purpose that brought back this memory. I couldn’t resist the complex implications of such an object. Like Anne Bonnet, I, too, wanted to live out the fantasy triggered by the use of this object. My fantasy, like most, took me to an unlikely place. Such is the unexpected journey of the unconscious. So here’s the leap: What if the apparatus for peeing while standing up was a gargoyle? And what if I actually cast this apparatus as a sculpture and used it to pee off of a landmark building in New York City ?
|Janine Antoni - Conduit|
Spent eight days and nights on this performance piece
she tracked her REM patterns as she slept in the bed for which she transferred the patterns into a blanket she was weaving for the bed the loom extends across the entire room.
|Janine Antoni, “Slumber”|
|2038 by Janine Antoni|
|Saddle by Janine Antoni|