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Lick and Lather
1993
Chocolate and soap
Dimensions: 50 x 35 x 25 cm 57 x 38 x 27 cm
Reference: ACF0637
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In this piece Antoni uses a mould to make fourteen exact copies of her head, imitating the style of a classical bust. Seven of the busts were cast in chocolate and the other seven in soap. Placing them on pillars and arranging them in a circle, she set up an installation which was presented in the Aperto at the 1993 Venice Biennale. Later the work was broken up into pairs which she has presented at various exhibitions, such as the one held at Sala Montcada, Fundació "la Caixa", in 1996, where she installed one chocolate and one soap bust. Most of Antoni's sculptures are the result of a kind of private performance with her own body. As the title suggests, the actions she carried out in the work are licking and lathering until the image is transformed. In fact she lathered herself with the soap busts and licked the chocolate ones for hours until they lost their shape, each in a different way. With those actions she literally effaces her own image, following a ritual loaded with metaphors of sex and of obliteration and destruction. "I was very interested in the fact that both acts were very loving...that licking myself and, you know, washing myself, this bust was like being in the tub washing your baby or something... It was a very loving act but at the same time I'm sort of erasing myself...so there's this strange tension going on which is, I think, an interesting relationship to how we feel about our physical appearance" , she explains in relation to the work, with which she alludes to the complexities of narcissism. Antoni's presence as artist and woman becomes the core of her work; through that presence she invokes a vision of herself as an obsessive, compulsive being. Lick and Lather stresses her participation in the narcissistic impulse which frequently suffuses the artistic process and illustrates distorted feminine obsessions and stereotypes. With the strategy of denying her own image, she also creates a fetish relation between the spectator and the artist's process.

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