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Mike Kelley | Artist Research

Mike Kelley was an American artist regarded as one of the most influential members of the Conceptual Art movement. Kelley’s work was often both playful and grotesque, using found objects like stuffed animals, knickknacks, and child-like drawings. This evoked the audience of the feeling of the unknown. Something similar to the work I create for an audience reaction or the small details featured within my work. Whether the blurred lines between censorship or homosexual erotica, and the murder mystery of ‘Revenge Is Better Than Masturbation.’

 “I think they’re really standardized kinds of repressed things in the culture— embarrassing things, like sexual dysfunction and the scatological,” he once said of his subject matter.

The Trajectory of Light in Plato’s Cave
1985/1986

The Trajectory of Light in Plato’s Cave is an immersive interactive exhibition exploring the human body. On entry, as it is a cave, one must crawl through a paper mache entry and be welcomed by a view of the image above. Then one has to pass through a curtain with a vertical red slit, like the opening of a vagina. Opposite of this are two other pictures hung. In one of them we can see an impression of Kelley’s body, in the other images that look like a Rorschach test. On the opposite side to the entrance, a fake fireplace raised up like an altar; at the sides large sheets of coloured material that might recall Mark Rothko. The colour of each one corresponds to the colour of a bodily fluid: excrement, urine, semen, blood.

Kelley calls into question the seriousness with which art, knowledge and politics. More than that, physicality overpowers everything: themes of sex are constantly present within this, metaphorically, in bodily fluids, in figures from psychoanalysis and, of course in the vagina that we have to go through to enter the cave.

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