December 27, 2011

OUT OF THE BOX Profile: Liliya Lifánova, Anatomy is Destiny: The Wardrobe, Game in Waiting

Posted in Exhibitions

ulmer1024116967506px72dpiLiliya Lifánova, Anatomy is Destiny: The Wardrobe, Game in Waiting, 2009. Collection the artist.

Liliya Lifánova, Anatomy is Destiny: The Wardrobe, Game in Waiting, 2009

Liliya Lifánova’s monumental piece Anatomy is Destiny: The Wardrobe, Game in Waiting dominates our first floor gallery as part of an ensemble of chess-related art works in the exhibition OUT OF THE BOX: Artists Play Chess. Referring to Sigmund Freud’s Oedipus complex, Anatomy is Destiny… consists of 32 garments suspended from the ceiling above a 16 x 16’ chess board. The garments are meant to exist as a static installation as well as be worn in a performance acting out an imaginary chess match between Marcel Duchamp and his female alter ego Rrose Sélavy that was envisioned by the artist Arman in 1972.

Inspired by an array of historical military fashions, the “chess piece” garments are made out of linen backed with cotton to relate them to the typical fabric used as supports in painting. Each group of garments are created to restrict the wearer (when the piece is performed live) to approximate the movement of that piece on the game board. For example:

  • The pawns have their hands bound an a mask covers their mouth.
  • The bishops have canes attached to their legs.
  • The knights have their hands behind their backs and lean forward during movement.
  • The rooks hold a round shape under their arm and are instructed to scratch it with a brush to produce a dry noise. The round shape is repeated on their hats, and they have high collars to symbolize a tower.
  • The queens have no restrictive garments.
  • The kings—since his value is priceless—is bound at the legs and wrists.

A live performance of the piece will take place at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis on February 15, 2012. Stay tuned for details. 

To see a clip of a past performance of Anatomy is Destiny, click here.

For more information about this work and other works seen in the exhibition, click here

OUT OF THE BOX: Artists Play Chess is curated by Bradley Bailey and is on view until February 12, 2012.