Name Diffusion

Luciano Inga-Pin Gallery

Marion Baruch has made female subjectivity the core of her work. In 1990 she formed a company, called NAME DIFFUSION, signing her works with this “commercial” logo. An industrial product needs a name and needs to be diffused. But men and women also need a name, and they too require the diffusion of their products—emotions, work, ideas. A telephone-directory entry has no voice, no face, no thoughts, it remains anonymous. To break from this condition, in any field of endeavor, both public and private, it is necessary for the name imposed upon us to produce its own discourse one that is singularly identified with that name. In this only apparently vicious circle, Baruch locates the birthplace of female creative subjectivity. The logo beneath which her true name and family hide doesn’t support the anonymous and undifferentiated supremacy of advertising communication. Indeed, in signaling its circular contradiction, the logo breaks the circle of that professed neutrality.

In this show, NAME DIFFUSION took sexual difference as its theme. This line of inquiry produced the installation entitled Più donne the uomini: pericolo scampato (More women than men: a danger avoided, 1992), an explicit reference to the ideas of the philosopher Luce Irigaray, but this installation was more than a mechanical translation of theory. The work was designed and created in direct association with another woman, a principle proponent of gender differences, who focusses on the recognition of female gender as a crucial first step in the full expression of an entire female identity. An engineer who works at the University of Paris, Ginette Le Maitre calculated a formula for NAME DIFFUSION that represents the problem of the survival of the species, a topic she has also addressed in her professional life. Le Maitre’s “formula” is as follows: if four men and one woman were to remain on a planet, there would be no hope of survival, in the opposite case, four women and one man, there would be extremely high hopes. The mathematical formula is: 4H + 1F = 0; 4F + IH=∞.

NAME DIFFUSION gave the shape of art to this formula. Beneath a large glass cube, five white, perforated-metal pillars were arranged in a square, one at each side, one in the center. Each held a scale for weighing newborn babies, and each scale held a newborn baby doll. This imaginary nursery was set up in the middle of the room. Leaning against the wall was a white geometric shape, also made out of perforated sheet-metal that emitted the sound of a heartbeat taped in the womb; a table bearing the NAME DIFFUSION logo; a stack of photocopies with the Le Maitre’s formula; a basket of condoms; a press release. The latter item read, “Having to guarantee the future, the female gender sometimes needs to take a vacation. Accompanied by a condom.”

The phrase “more women than men” is not presented as a commandment directed at the patriarchal order, but as a law of exchange, as a relationship that is both metaphoric and real, scientific and personal, through which women, in a constant dialectic between subjectivity and difference, address the subject of a creative and not just a procreative couple.

Francesca Pasini

Translated from the Italian by Marguerite Shore.