From 02 October 1992 to 22 November 1992
Curated by Jeffrey Deitch
The theme of physicality, and particularly the ideal of the human body promoted by the media, was the central concern of this exhibition, which brought together the work of a number of leading international artists. The mass media bombards us with idealised representations of reality, proposing certain types of body and lifestyle as models for the individual to aspire to. This, in turn, feeds our twin desires to achieve physical perfection and combat the natural ageing process via any means possible, including cosmetic surgery, genetic engineering and anti-ageing therapies which are all now common practice. The participating artists examine the media’s obsession with the “virtual reality” of the body beautiful, through works that reveal the neuroses that plague contemporary society. The anthropomorphic sculptures of Kiki Smith, Pia Stadtbäumer, Paul McCarthy and Robert Gober, which can, by turn, be comical or grotesque, are deliberately provocative, as are the works of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Ashley Bickerton, Charles Ray and Jeff Koons, which explicitly reference pornography. Other artists investigate the media’s treatment of the female body: Cindy Sherman approaches the theme through photography, while Janine Antoni works with cubes of lard and chocolate to highlight our troubled relationship with food, and Sylvie Fleurie creates installations with designer shoes or Chanel handbags that raise questions about the commodification of “portable” luxury goods. Thomas Ruff seeks to minimise the distinguishing features of his subjects in his unusual photographic portraits; and Clegg & Guttmann’s photographs of corporate directors demonstrate how power, mass-production and media-dictated fashions undermine the individual, and consequently society as a whole, on both a physical and psychological level.