Friday, January 06, 2017

Notes on X

The masks and figures I have been making are mostly, but not entirely, related to reflections on images of a certain archetype I refer to as X, and my misreadings of sayings attributed to X and to letters written by a certain revolutionary mystic whose own encounter with X came by way of an altered state experience.
A few years ago I made some paper masks and Fred Valentine asked me if I ever considered using another, more durable, material. As it happened I had been thinking of using coffee cans, cut, flattened, and folded, with eyeholes poked and jaggedly cut. Right away I saw these masks as representations of X. 
The figures are made of scrap wood and the image is derived from drawings of an Everyman character — whose gender is obviously signified — conflated with a familiar archetype of an executed revolutionary or sacrificed deity, depending on one’s projection, and resulting in an image that was startling, but which seemed perfectly truthful to me.
X could be read as a martyred bodhisattva and victim of state violence, but he is also an iconoclastic revision of an iconic image whose representation has historically been regulated by the authority of a patriarchy that I believe is in its last daze.


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