New York

Lorraine O’Grady, Cutting Out CONYT 04, 1977/2017, diptych, collage on paper, each sheet 41 3⁄4 × 30".

Lorraine O’Grady

Alexander Gray Associates

Frames within frames: For a lecture in 1969, Jacques Derrida distributed copies of “Mimique,” a prose poem written by Stéphane Mallarmé in 1897 describing a theatrical scene involving the pantomime character Pierrot, whom Mallarmé had read about in a pamphlet purportedly authored by the mime himself. In the scene, Pierrot learns that his wife, Columbine, has betrayed him, and he resolves to murder her—by tickling her to death. Pierrot performs this fanciful deed onstage, playing the parts of both tickler and tickled, alternately wriggling his hands ferociously and giggling with helpless delight. As he switches between masculine and feminine roles, he also oscillates temporally, from buildup to aftermath. Mallarmé quotes the pamphlet’s account of the mime’s frantic motions: “Here anticipating, there recalling, in the future, in the past, under the false appearance of a present.

Now again:

Sign-in to keep reading

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

Not registered for artforum.com? 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 February 2019 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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