New York

Jean Dupuy

The Kitchen and 112 Greene Street

Jean Dupuy’s two installations deal with what in a more resolutely Christian era would have been called the two aspects of marriage—the sacred and profane. Dupuy installed I & J at The Kitchen shortly before he produced Soup and Tart, an evening of artists’ performances there. “I” & “J” (referring to Jean and Irene, his former wife) is spelled out in grommets on a canvas screen. Through them a large screen with a video monitor inserted in it at lower right is visible. Graphic grainy stills of a couple making love and masturbating are projected on the screen, stills taken from the videotape on the monitor. The improvident references to Duchamp’s Etant Donnés are mitigated by the more specific act of voyeurism Dupuy enjoins upon the spectator who is witness to the retrieval of past carnalities.

Is She Pregnant?, the other half of Dupuy’s classical pair, is based in Van Eyck’s Arnolfini wedding portrait. In the view through the lens mounted in a portfolio on a drawing table (a setup Dupuy has used before), a video image of the back of the spectator’s head replaces the round mirror in a slide of the Netherlandish painting. The Arnolfini portrait is widely regarded as a kind of visual wedding document in which the mirror image of the couple’s backs represents a pseudo-objective corroboration. Dupuy again ropes the spectator in as a witness, this time to a sacred scene. Besides the interaction of levels of illusion in Is She Pregnant?, the work closes the simple circuit of meanings set up by I & J. Together the pieces present a diaristic theme both enlarged and diluted through meditations on past art.

Alan Moore