A La Duchamp, Jillian Mayer Chews Off Her Arms For Art Basel
By Maria Goldverg
posted: 12-05-11
Jillian Mayer, H.I.L.M.D.A., 2011
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The title of Jillian Mayer's video submission to Art Basel may be inspired by Marcel Duchamp's L.H.O.O.Q., but her grotesque content certainly takes matters a step further. In H.I.L.M.D.A., a section from Love Trips: A Triptych on Love, Mayer chews off her own arms. Actually, she only physically chews off one her limbs, the first she simply rips off with her as of yet intact other arm. The piece recalls the famous, and armless, statue of Aphrodite (or Venus) de Milo, which S. C. Dumont D’Urville had described in Two Voyages to the South Seas, Memoirs of Captain Jules as "a naked woman with an apple in her raised left hand, the right hand holding a draped sash falling from hips to feet, both hands damaged and separated from the body." Mayer's understands the loss of the Aphrodite's arms to be a kind of self-sacrifice, an affected choice, that ultimately becomes the icon of western beauty for centuries. Her project hopes to re-appropriate an original much like Duchamp had done. She elaborates in an interview with the Huffington Post: "like Duchamp's seminal work, H.I.L.M.D.A. also forces viewers to reexamine the living Venus that stands before an audience. It recontextualizes both the accepted meaning of the original work, context, and narrative." Think of it what you will, we'd just rather not have hear those sound effects.

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