Notes on masculinity and failure #1

I am finding it difficult to visualise my detective character, it is something that I have been trying to bring to fruition for some time now. I don’t understand it, perhaps I am not focussing enough, perhaps I do not want to give him a face, maybe he has too many. He is within me, I can feel him. He is the stuff of my pubescent dreams. He is me. And yet, he does not want to come to the surface as I try to re-imagine him. An imaginary friend, he never needed to have a self. He came out through me. Perhaps that is what is more important. I have been trying to make myself a parody of a man, but it didn’t quite fit. It seems to keep rejecting. For me, it is not about a certain look, more of an attitude, a demeanour. As a child without the restrictions of societal morals of which I had not yet learned, and with a basic need to satisfy desire, I was able to ‘act out’ the man of my dreams. This masculinity was a part of me, with no need to separate. I objectified. My only concern was with my own desire. I think in this process I confused what I perceived as masculine desire with the greed of my childish need to gratify myself, and now they are one in the same. And so I possess an imperfect understanding of men and their own desire. And how, am I, as a woman mirrored back within that? Sometimes I am not sure who is desiring whom anymore.

Over time I think my practice has become less about dress-up and more about the manifestation of an object as a translation of my narrative. The sculptures seem to possess a subtle communication, which the physical characters do not. However, I am not sure I want to lose the costumed character completely. I would like to find a way to assimilate the two.

I include two images, one of my detective character in costume, and one as an object. The costumed detective did not reach my expectation of what I was hoping to convey, for me he possesses none of the intrigue, arrogance and sex appeal of my imagined detective. He is without. But the object is able to offer more subtleties, the smooth china puckering at its centre suggestive of a luscious hole into the inner recess of the body. A solid black mass, simultaneously malignant yet benign. Sitting in-between what is nameable and known, almost ornamental, bodily, organic – a long-lost appendage to my form. It lies there lonely, cast off, seeking to return yet finding no solace in any reunion. Still the object is not without its failure, of which I write about on the image. It’s construction too evident upon inspection for the object to offer any real intrigue and spectacle. In order for this to be achieved I need to remake the object with a different assemblage method in mind and then one can hold it between one’s hands and feel the stirrings of its beauty.

Image credit 1: Black mass, 2011, Prefix-poly. (China, glue, paper, sequins, fabric)
Image credit 2: The Detective, 2011, Prefix-poly. (Photograph) – Photographer: Darklens