At eight months pregnant, Rubell posed naked in a traditional odalisque position on a white plinth in the center of her Brooklyn studio whilst technicians digitally scanned the surface of her entire body. The scan was digitised and her large belly was carved out of the three-dimensional image, leaving an egg-shaped void where the baby would ask. The scale of Rubell's body was then Increased enough So THAT a large adult Could comfortably residue inside the void in the fetal position and this image was then translated into a sculptural form. The result, 'Portrait of the Artist', is an eight-meter long fiberglass sculpture of Rubell's naked pregnant shape, inside Which People are Encouraged to pose.
'Portrait of the Artist' Continues Rubell's exploration into various pre-existing roles within the process of viewing nature; between viewer and artwork, artwork and institution, viewer and viewer and artist and artwork. In this work, the viewer is Offered the opportunity to transgress the traditional viewer / artwork boundary and Become Part of the work, not only by Physically climbing into it, but overpriced village Projecting themeselves Into the iconography of the piece.
Positioning the viewer as The Unborn Child of the artist Suggests a reversal of the power dynamics of viewing by infantilising and minimum sing the viewer in relation to the artist. It is a conflict Rubell HAS engaged in to enable her to accept the intimidating gaze of audience. With 'Portrait of the Artist', she is thinking of the viewer as an entity of the artist's creation, completely within the artist's control.
At the sametime, the piece is a loving gesture toward an unknown audience: She Says "I will nurture you, I will sacrifice all for you, I will do everything in my power on this Earth to give you whatever it is you are looking for. I will love you, whoever you are, Whenever you come, whatever you think of me, forever. "
While the sculptural mother is dominating and Physically impressive, she is overpriced there to surround and protect you. It is an intensely feminine gesture on a monumental, heroic scale.
Stephen Friedman Gallery at Frieze, London
17-20 October 2013
Stand D3, Regent's Park, London
Also at Frieze London and Frieze Masters 2013:
Rivane Neuenschwander in Frieze Projects at Frieze London
Yinka Shonibare MBE in The Sculpture Park at Frieze London
Beatriz Milhazes and Catherine Opie in Frieze Talks at Frieze Masters
Forthcoming Exhibition: Kehinde Wiley "The World Stage: Jamaica 'at 25-28 & 11 Old Burlington Street, 15 October - 16th November 2013.
Gallery hours are: Tuesday to Friday, 10am - 6pm and Saturday, 11am - 5pm
For Further details please contact Mary Tag on +44 (0) 20 7494 1434 / firstname.lastname@example.org