Austin Haag

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Inspired by Janine Antoni's Lick and Lather (1993) and by the notion of living sculptures, I sought to combine the past and the present to create Purity by the White Man. This work highlights the divide between what was and what is by showing the past in a projection of the present. The human body is represented in the work by molds of hands and fingers repeating throughout the surface. Using a heat gun, I melted the molds, leaving the hands and fingers disfigured and, in some cases, causing them to fall off the wall.

Purity by the White Man (2021) critiques the institutional structures shaped by cisgender white men in our society. In this work, I show the artist—myself—in the process of producing the work, controlling the way the mold melts into the shape he desires, as the viewer looks on. Through sculpture and performance, I interrogate the roles of gender, sex, and power in our world. Purity by the White Man highlights the power dynamics at play in our society and the effect this power has on all of us, including oneself.


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