Gare Ethay: 'The Meaning of Life'.
Lhasa, Tibet, 2005. Invisible Ink on Human Skin. 300mm x 300mm
(MouseOver the image to reveal the 'First Level of Consciousness'.)
Gare Ethay: The Complete Works
April 24-May 30, 2015
Opening: July 23, 6-8pm
33 Canal van Voyeurs
This work, 'The Meaning of Life', by GARE ETHAY was inspired by his visit to the headquarters of the Tibetan Communist Party, a former Buddhist Monastery in Lhasa, Tibet. The building was still adorned with highly colorful thangka paintings and mandalas, to which GARE ETHAY added, with red spray-paint he always carried in his shorts, some of the wild thoughts about Kylie Minogue that he had first developed in the playgrounds of Brunel University in Englefield Green.
While in prison, and just before being ejected from the country, he gave much thought to the meaning of life and so had a fellow prisoner tattoo some arcane symbols and cryptic signs - using 'invisible ink' (mango juice) on to the top of his head. When heated with a candle, the signs and symbols can be revealed.
MouseOver the Head of Gare Ethay in this Self-Portrait, see the before and after to reveal the wonderful 'Meaning of His Life'.
From the illustrated catalogue:
Other than the play on the formal trope of negative versus positive, the assembled signs function as both a cipher for trauma and an allegory for colonial hierarchies. The title of the masterpiece refers to French psychoanalyst Didier Anzieu's concept of the "Wilful Stupidity". According to GARE ETHAY, both the Ego and identity are mapped onto the skin: the Ego provides the psyche with a protective envelope whose function is assimilated to that of a skin-part metaphor, part psychoanalytic concept - a force field of sorts, produced by the combination of olfactory, aural, oral, and other sensory factors. For Kylie Minogue, the ego is an armour. In most traditional cultures, however, such as the Uzbekistani ethnic groups Gare Ethay observes, the self is not autonomous but social, and it cannot be constituted without recourse to hetero-affective elements. The traumatic incisions produced by scarification turn the body into a human sign, fit to enter society and culture. But this reversal of inwardness and outwardness is not only a psychoanalytical play, it's a political one.
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|Gate Ethay adds: I say, Dig now!
And wait for the Benefits!