The Captive 2013
I commission a factory sculptor in Northwestern China to carve a self-portrait in marble. He is instructed to adopt the posture of the Atlas Slave (a sculpture from Michelangelo’s series of Captives). This object is crated, shipped to the UK, but never opened.
This project explores the asymmetrical economies of contemporary art production, where inflated exchange value often obscures the wage labour that produces it, and authorship often resides thousands of miles from the commodity that it claims. This work performs a logic proposed by Karl Marx in his essay Estranged Labour: lamenting the transformation of human lives into the commodity form, he proposes accelerating the prevailing system of capitalism in order to bring its barbaric tendencies to a swifter conclusion.
Media : Marble, shipping crate, photography, printed correspondence, HD video
Commissioner : Third Text
Exhibitions : Victoria House (London), Marso (Mexico City), Third Text