May 01, 2007
Further to the recent post on the conceptual artist Wim Delvoye and his x-rayed blowjobs and tattooed pigs, a reader has noted the artist’s pretentious yet depressive and nihilistic tone. Delvoye has often couched his output in terms of “the folly of human achievement” and, like many of his peers, has spent a great deal of time either manufacturing excrement or presenting human ambition as “ridiculous.” A stance which raises the question of whether Delvoye regards his own work – devoted as it is to revealing the emptiness of human endeavour – as worth pursuing, or paying for.
In matters excremental, Delvoye’s efforts are rivalled, perhaps even surpassed, by fellow artist Michelle Hines, whose 1995 work Peristaltic Action involved Ms Hines apparently producing a single, continuous turd measuring some 26 feet in length. This prodigious feat required, we’re told, a high-fibre diet, a butt plug and a suitable venue – the Cranbrook-Kingswood High School bowling alley in Michigan – which, according to Hines, “offered a length of floor suitable for measuring the results.” Readers with a sturdy constitution can click here to see Ms Hines in action, as it were.
There is, however, some doubt as to the veracity of Hines’, er, output, and the artist has subsequently claimed that her work is in fact a “parody” that explores the “absurd lengths people will go to be remembered.” Another Hines triumph, Number of Days Without Sleep, purported to show the artist depriving herself of sleep for 528 hours in December 1994 - which, of course, she didn’t. Unlike Mr Delvoye, and with suitable postmodern irony, Ms Hines seems to believe that ersatz pretension and vacuity is much more worthwhile than the real thing.