Beagles & Ramsay


Art critics and cultural theorists looking for a potentially infinitely expandable metaphor might do worse than plump for “ventriloquism.” A quick trawl through motif is almost universally adaptable, signaling (among other things, and in no particular order): the death of the author, the artwork in process, problems of free will and determination, the workings of ideology, Cartesian dualism, the failings of Western idealism, cyborg identity, and practically every psychoanalytic model of individual or collective subject formation one might care to dredge up. But as far as art practice goes, just a hardy few have risked invoking ventriloquism directly, among them, Laurie Simmons, Asta Gröting (recently shown at London’s Freud Museum), and now Glasgow duo John Beagles and Graham Ramsay, in their installation Dead of Night, 2003.

The show’s star exhibit was a pair of ventriloquists’ dummies,

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the October 2003 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.