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Spread Eagle

Lisa Nigro


Interactive/Mixed Media Installation
Austin, TX

16’ x 8’ x 2’
plaster, gauze, faux fur, latex, paper bags, sand, and candles

A pathway lit with luminaries leads the viewer into a circular “trap,” an expression of my thoughts regarding gender issues in American culture. This installation speaks with a black humour which Breton defined as “the paradoxical triumph of the pleasure principle over real conditions at a moment when the later might be considered to be particularly unfavorable. The spirit thus transcends a hostile, even hopeless condition by an act of humour and imagination. ‘Black humour’ acts like a lightning conductor to canalize and absorb anxiety and to alleviate the pain of being.” The explicit sexual positioning of the torso and the pathway forcing the viewer into the circle made this a very confrontational piece. I “got off” on the various reactions people had as they “came” upon the Spread Eagle at the entrance to the gallery. I was re-creating a situation that I had been forced into on many occasions, throughout my life. Having to deal with mass media’s overload of “T&A” and “pussy” has forced me, as the artist, to react in a similar fashion. I’ve had enough of the uncomfortableness, now it’s time for YOU to feel uncomfortable; and, it’s my turn to feel a sinister sort of pleasure in twisting the gaze of the spectator. Here, I attempt to situate the view in an awkward space, somewhere between fantasy and desire, and uncomfortable laughter. I’m shouting, “Hey Buddy! Like to look at pussy? Here you go! I’ll give you something to look at! Because, you see, I’m tired of looking at “cunt” in the grocery store and in the check out line of the Circle K. And I’m tired of the cheesy Sports Illustrated swim suit issues, the boring Beauty Pageants, and the pressure to measure up to a “10.” What’s a “10,” anyway? 

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