Why Take a Man Apart


Cibachrome mounted on aluminium museum box

79.4 x 61.6 cm (31 1/4 x 24 1/4 in.)

The blurry foreground does not reveal its nature, between a shiny surface and fluid objects. In the background, a rounded, flesh-coloured shape reveals a head, characterised by a pierced ear, a cheekbone and a rounded forehead under a bald skull. A wooden strip runs through the image and recalls the classic setting of a traditional work, while oddly, in the distance another work appears hanging on the wall.

This photo taken by Lawler in an exhibition space is typical of the way she puts works of art into different contexts. In doing so, the American artist studies the relationship and gap between display and discourse. But Why Take a Man Apart is stingy with clues: the work is hard to recognise, and no card provides information about its nature and environment.

Lawler's photograph Why Take a Man Apart is in the Pinault Collection. It was first exhibited at the "Sequence 1" show in 2007 at the Palazzo Grassi.