Miasma / Hyena and the ValveEnlarge image

Miasma / Hyena and the Valve, 1988-1989

Martha Fleming; Lyne Lapointe
Canadian, 1958
wood, paper, graphite, oil paint, moose bones, organic matter, tree root, metal, glass balls, cushion, cloth
panel 1: 213.4 x 119.4 x 45.7 cm; panel 2: 213.4 x 185.4 cm; bench: 68.6 x 134.6 x 58.4 cm
Purchased 1993
National Gallery of Canada (no. 37078.1-3)

This work was originally part of an installation entitled "Eat Me, Drink Me, Love Me", which explored the ambivalent theme of homosexual love through metaphors drawn from nature. Here the artists reinterpret old symbols of homosexuality with strong negative connotations, such as the hyena and the mollusk, while the figure of the bather, from a painting by the French artist Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867), is represented as a passive and imprisoned, albeit idealized, love object. The miasma referred to in the title was an evil cloud thought to carry the plague in its noxious fumes. The artists equate this pre-scientific explanation of how disease is spread with the misinformation and prejudice that surrounds the spread of AIDS.




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