• Janet Cardiff


    There are eight million stories in the naked city, or so the famous voice-over would have us believe. Maybe this is a huge underestimate; or maybe it’s a wild exaggeration. Maybe, as film theorist Christian Metz once proposed of classic Hollywood cinema, there is only one, endlessly retold: the story of narcissistic identification with an idealized other. Commissioned by Artangel, Janet Cardiff’s audio piece The Missing Voice (Case Study B), 1999, uses a novel medium to revisit that psychoanalytic terrain.

    Cardiff’s piece involves a visit to London’s Whitechapel Library and the exchange of one’s

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  • Ana Maria Pacheco

    National Portrait Gallery

    Every now and then, great institutions wake up in a cold sweat and—a bit like Kafka’s Gregor Samsa—discover they have metamorphosed into something resembling a dinosaur. The National Gallery awakens intermittently and tries various means of remedying the situation: appointing a trustee who is an artist (albeit a well-established one), for example, or inviting artists to select shows drawn from the permanent collection. Since 1990, another approach has been to offer artists a studio in the gallery for a two-year period, with the idea that they might make work inspired in some way by the collection

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  • Jenny Saville

    Gagosian Gallery

    Jenny Saville paints women’s bodies— bodies distorted to the point of being grotesque—but she also just paints, with an energy that enlivens her otherwise bloated, inert, sometimes carcasslike subjects. Much of the female body in Hem, 1998–99, for example, is composed of abstract passages of pure paint, which at once flatten the corpulent flesh and render it luminous. This raw painterliness subverts Saville’s illustrational tendencies, but it also gives her image an aggressive edge: In the act of dissolving the figure into “pure art,” the paint seems to sear the body, suggesting that it is

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