About this artwork
Since the 1990s, New York–based artist Janine Antoni has established an international reputation with labor-intensive projects in a wide range of media. She incorporates both art history and personal exploration, investigating the ways in which contemporary definitions of aesthetics and art making are connected to issues of gender identity and sexuality. Inspired by the feminist artists of the 1970s, she reframes and subverts art-historical and societal conventions surrounding women and beauty.
Antoni creates intimate, ritualized encounters between her chosen materials and her own body, which has become her essential tool. In Touch, which was commissioned for SITE Santa Fe in 2002, she balances on a tightrope, a skill she has sought to master. Here, on the beach in front of her childhood home on Grand Bahama Island, the artist walks a line that is parallel to the horizon. Dressed in sky blue, she enters the landscape from outside the frame. When the wire dips under her weight, it appears to touch the horizon, creating the illusion that she is walking on the water. Like many of Antoni’s works, Touch records a relationship—a moment of contact—and reveals the artist’s longing to bridge the gaps between herself and viewers, between her work and art history.
Antoni begins with an idea of artistic process that dictates the final result and meaning. The idea of Touch derives from Moor (2001), a work in which the artist created a rope out of her and her friends’ belongings; the artist has said that while she intends to walk it, she also questions the impulse. Touch depicts a literal balancing act in order to suggest the state of perfection that many people strive for, including herself. Antoni has said, “Touch is about that moment or that desire to walk on the horizon,” a location that represents hope and the future. She explained that she wants to walk in “this impossible place, a place that cannot be pinpointed … on the line of my vision, or along the edge of my imagination.” Since the viewer’s involvement is a crucial element in her work, Antoni asks us to imagine ourselves in her situation and contemplate the meaning of the horizon when she is absent from the scene. As the artist teeters but never falls, she accepts and almost embraces a state of imbalance.
Currently Off View
- Contemporary Art
- Janine Antoni
- United States
- Made 2002
- Color video, sound (projection); 9:36 min. loop Edition number three of five
- Gift of Donna and Howard Stone
- © 2002 Janine Antoni.