los-angeles

Jim Shaw/Benjamin Weissman

Linda Cathcart Gallery

A self-reflexive, 45-panel, comic-strip-style narrative, Horror A Vacui, 1992, Jim Shaw and Benjamin Weissman’s recent collaboration, explores Western materialist culture’s fear and exploitation of the vacuum or void. Despite the best efforts of Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, et al. to deconstruct Cartesian binaries built on presence and absence, capitalism, through the compensatory commodity form, has an intrinsic stake in perpetuating libidinal desires predicated on fulfilling a primal lack. Desire’s constant deferral, reinforced by the Freudian death drive and Oedipus complex (whose castrating Law both constructs and exploits the ultimate fear/punishment of the phallic void), lies at the heart of the Western psyche. Whether it be the painter’s fear of the blank, unpainted canvas, or the public sector’s obsession with filling “dead air” with Muzak, the horror of the

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