Gemini G.E.L.: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1966–2005
Jonathan Borofsky's work at Gemini has been marked by a diversity of style and media. Lithographs (Stick Man [7.15]), screenprints (Subway Dream [7.20]), and sculpture in Lexan (Molecule Men [7.7]), gatorfoam (Flying Man with Briefcase [7.19]), and other materials were made possible by the exceptional flexibility of the Los Angeles facility. Like many of his banner or poster pieces, the text of Borofsky's Art is for the Spirit (7.46), communicates the artist's spiritual quest for wholeness. The naively rendered cosmic imagery conveys a sense of Borofsky's childlike wonder and faith in the capacity of art to create a truly transcendental experience. In a similar message essence, the visual pulse and sound of the artist's own recorded heartbeat radiates a spiritual presence in Heart Light (7.77). Borofsky often revisits images in order to gain insight into their origins while testing new materials in relation to the subject. By approaching his motif as a framework on which to build, the artist can more fully concentrate on the technique and materials in order to refine the specific qualities that can transform the subject anew.
Borofsky especially understands the impact of presenting the figure on a grand scale. In works such as his monumental paper version of Hammering Man (7.78), which was created by pouring pulp into a gargantuan mold, Gemini provided the kind of support needed to realize this approach. The four arms of cast white paper were attached in sequential positions suggesting the hammering movement; a gesture programmed on motorized versions of the subject Borofsky had created elsewhere. Gemini staff and associates are known for their openness to experimentation, and the sheer multitude of possibilities available to the workshop makes it a perfect place to pursue serial investigations of subjects in new media.
Dancing Clown (7.33) is another recurrent Borofsky image, an uncomfortable fusion of female and male. In this work, one sees a ballerina, poised in mid-jeté, wearing oversized gloves and a clown mask that displays a deep five o'clock shadow. This figure creates a hybrid of irresolvable opposites: the classical performer and the lowbrow comedian. Tethered to a mechanized ring that shimmies in mid-air (an image that first emerged in one of the artist's dreams) is a symbolic self-portrait of Borofsky's artistic persona: part showman, part tragic comedian, and part eloquent dancer. The artist's consistent grappling with new technological challenges has consistently energized the workshop, creating an atmosphere conducive to the nurturing of increasingly large and complex projects during his visits.
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Art and Technology | The 1960s
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