Wool, cotton, wood, painting on epoxy mastic and resin, recycling pumps, lights, and water

292 × 170 × 163 cm

Robert Gober’s works describe the complex relations between the interior and exterior, the hidden and the revealed. Male bodies are presented as modified, truncated, mutant, and hybrid ready-mades.

The installation Waterfall is accessed through a simple piece of men’s clothing, a vest with its back to the viewers. Placed against a wall, the edge of a white shirt juts out from the collar. The upper part of the back contains a small, square opening. Viewers are led to look through this opening. When they do, what they see is not the interior of a body, as one might expect, instead a rocky wall mixed with branches and flowing with real water. By combining the extreme ordinariness of a piece of urban clothing with a natural scene, two aspects of an ordinary reality that belong to different modes of existing, Waterfall generates, more than simply a dreamlike narrative in a surrealist vein, a mise-en-abime that overturns the established order and switches the boundaries of the inner and the outer. Waterfall also alludes to Marcel Duchamp’s final work, Étant donnés: 1° la chute d’eau 2° le gaz d’éclairage… (1946–1968), an installation in which the body, the viewer’s scopic impulse, and a diorama of a waterfall and greenery all coexist. Waterfall continues Gober’s exploration of blurred perception and the floating aspects of our bodies and our identities.