Antoni on her ephemeral self-portraits
Here’s Janine Antoni on her sculpture Lick and Lather, two self-portrait busts–one made of chocolate, the other, soap.
I started just thinking about what it would mean in this day and time to try to make a self-portrait. And I guess the first thing I thought of is this notion of immortalizing oneself in the sculpture. And I thought, Well, I’m gonna work against the grain of that by working with these ephemeral materials.
And then I guess the other answer I gave myself is really this notion of making an image, a public image, an image that you present to the world. So I thought to myself: Are we more ourselves at home, taking a bath or having a meal at night? And so I tried to use these everyday activities and these materials associated with them as a way of describing myself.
So I started with really my likeness. And then I reshaped my image by licking the chocolate and washing the soap. I was struck by the licking and washing as these kind of very loving acts. But in the process of these loving acts, I’m slowly erasing myself.
Well, we don’t usually lick sculpture or take it in the tub with us. But it would be interesting to me is, if you went home and looked at your bar of soap a little bit differently. That not only are you bathing your body with your soap, but that your— your body is sculpting that bar of soap at the same time.
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