VENUS OF WILLENDORF 1991
180mm x 98 mm nickel shim stereogram
"A miniature masterpiece based on the pagan fertility goddess. Reminiscent of a daguerreotype. Reproduced in hotstamping foil on the cover of Sculpture Magazine."
The body and parts thereof enable the artist to explore and comment on human nature and concerns. For a political being this is enough reason to use the body as visual imagery. The body is sensuous, sensible, sexy and miraculous. Every body is, in one way or another. The head included.
In the Fall of 1990, the magazine "Sculpture" requested an article on holographic installations. When I suggested a holographic "Venus of Willendorf '91" for the cover, we were on. With the good will and creative support of Hugues Souparis of Hologram Indistries, the idea became a reality.
The prehistoric "Venus of Willendorf", circa 20,000 B.C., discovered in 1908, was the first fertility figure to be found. It has always been an important image for artists and has become an important symbol for feminists: the Earth Mother, invincible.
The "Willendorf" sculpture at the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna is very small, approximately 4 1/2 inches tall. It is fitting, th erefore, that the "Willendorf '91" is small as well. I think the 5 3/4 x 3 1/2 inch size of the hologram makes the figure even more powerful than it might have been if larger. I like the swell of the body across the holographic surface, and the confidence and strength of this woman as she emerges from the surface plane.
Reactions to the "Venus '91" are fascinating from a sociological point of view as well as artistic: from two holographers, "Ugly" and "Made me want to throw up", to a shocked scientist's gasp as he gaped at a sunlit "Venus", to a curator and artist, "It's great, I want one".
Since the "Venus of Willendorf '91", my work has continued to focus on people and the body. With the metaphysical medium of holography, I want to dig out of those bodies a taste of human passion and angst, a special heady savour that cannot be depicted by any other medium.
Presently I am enjoying the critical success of my recent retrospective exhibition at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Seeing the development of 30 years work, including my multi-media installations of the late 60s, in an extensive glorious environment gave me more acute perception of my work than any previous experience.
Soon I will be in group shows on the west coast, in New York City and Lima, Peru. And looking forward to 2000AD, I am engaged in a project for the Millenium First night Boston, called "A Celebration of Aging." It will include a dozen holograms with sound, of people 70 - 170 years old, video, music, dancing and all good things. Come celebrate!