PRINT Summer 2005


“BUT YOU LOOK SO YOUNG!” might seem an incredibly rude thing to say—if said to a thirty-one-year-old. Yet upon meeting Roberto Cuoghi for the first time last February, this apparent faux pas was forgivable. After all, I was expecting to meet the artist who, as a student at Milan’s Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in 1998, decided that he would “become” his father. During the next seven years, Cuoghi embarked on a radical quest to accelerate his age, assuming the elderly man’s physical appearance, mannerisms, and dress. His weight swelled to 308 pounds, he grew a beard, dyed his hair grey, and developed chronic bags under his eyes, not to mention attendant health problems. Without the help of make-up or Orlan-esque surgical intervention, Cuoghi—to borrow a term from queer discourse—convincingly “passed” as a man in his mid-sixties. (Only very recently has he begun to reverse this aging

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