Monday, May 17, 2021


"Cloaca" by Wim Delvoye, photo: Che Lydia Xyang

Back in 2002 “Cloaca,” a conceptual piece by the Belgian artist Wim Delvoye was shown at the New Museum. The “sculpture” is really an “infernal machine” to the extent that it manufactures excrement—replete with an olfactory effect. "Cloaca" is literally a turd machine and in one of the venues in which it was displayed “the turds” like numbered prints were sold for $1000 a piece. Delvoye’s work is an obvious metaphor for art itself, in which from a phenomenological point of view sensation is ingested, masticated and then regurgitated. It might also be looked at as a metaphor for therapy in which the patient shits all over the therapist on the way to being cured. A child who needs to excrete will say he or she has “to make.” Shitting is an expression that also has something in common with giving birth. Having a satisfying bowel movement which is shapely and descends easily through  the rectum is an achievement and one wonders if there aren’t creatives who look wistfully at these productions, even  considering whether they should sign them, before flushing them away.

Read "We Aim to Please" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

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