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Caryatid (Clay Amphora with matte creme engobe with neck and base wrapped with twigs)

2003
21st century

Janine Antoni (Bahamas, 1964 - ) Primary

Object Type: installation
Artist Nationality: North America, Bahamas
Medium and Support: C-print and broken vessel
Credit Line: Partial and pledged gift of Jeanne and Michael Klein, 2004
Temp ID: T2004.1.1/2-2/2

Reviving the practice of “body art” from the 1970s, Antoni uses her own body to explore issues of gender, cultural identity, and “balance” as a psychological and physical condition. The photograph of Antoni balancing a clay vessel on her head has been inverted so the exact opposite appears true. Simply by changing the orientation of the photograph, Antoni has relieved the female body of the tasks it has historically performed either as a domestic laborer or as a caryatid, a draped figure used as a support in classic architecture. The same vessel that “supports” Antoni in the photograph now lies shattered on the gallery floor, a mystery the artist leaves up to the viewer to solve. Interweaving sculpture, photograph, and performance, Caryatid is a deliberately elusive work of art.

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