Elizabeth Englander "Headless"

Overflow, oxidation, and imperfection transform Entrance’s outdoor vestibule into a grotto, where the artist presents a fountain en plein air. In Ass-backward, Englander mounts a torso atop an Ionic column, utilizing the form of a Renaissance “term” figure, a grotesque interpretation of the human form derived from Greco-Roman models. Working with nontraditional materials (steel wool, discarded plastic bins), Englander draws on the degradational method that Calvinist builders used in the overly ornate architecture commissioned by their aristocratic Catholic patrons in the 1500’s. In such structures, subversion is generated by what scholar Catharine Randall calls “the friction between [...] two apparently twinned but in fact warring systems of signification,” 2 —that is, the normative aesthetics of the dominant group versus the radical, reforming vision of their builders, secretly encoded in complex iconography and faulty construction.

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