SHERRIE LEVINE (Hazelton, 1947), American photographer and conceptual artist, who studied at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in 1969 and her Master of Fine Arts in 1973. Levine first gained critical attention for her work in the early 1980s when she was associated with artists such as Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo e David Salle, known as “Appropriationists” for their reuse and reworking of the media reality and contemporary popular culture.
Levine’s works are seen as a comment on the death of Modernism and its ideals, on the authenticity and autonomy of the artistic object and its status as an everyday object. Through the photographic and three-dimensional reproduction of other artists’ works, Sherrie Levine clearly expresses her interest in furthering the post-structuralist debate about artistic heritage, but her theoretical rigour was complemented by a delicate, timid, if not remote, handling of materials, adding a sensuous dimension to an otherwise academic pursuit.
The works in bronze presented here, first exhibited in 1989 at the Mary Boone Gallery, New York, are part of a single installation entitled The Bachelors, and are a personal representation of one of the most complex and fascinating works in the entire history of Western art: The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors(also known as The Large Glass) by Marcel Duchamp, an approved copy of which is in the collection of the Tate Modern.
In glass cases with a clinical appearance, Levine has placed three-dimensional adaptations of six of Duchamp’s nine ‘malic’ moulds (representations of the various identities of the bachelor), symbolically freeing them from the glass which constrained them as part of a bizarre, visionary, amorous mechanism, but making them at the same time vulnerable.
The idea of isolating each “bachelor” from his companions, from the bride and from all his paraphernalia is precisely the aspect that Sherrie Levine adds to the French master’s work, and the installation thus becomes a model of loss and absence, a representation of desire which also plays with the fetishistic vision of the artistic object.