On December 22, 1985, a headline in The Baton Rouge Advocate read: “Siamese Twins Make Yule More Complicated.” The article goes on to describe the first year of life for my sibling and me. We were conjoined at birth, called “identical” twins, called “Siamese.”
“We must distinguish between these discrete elements, these repeated objects, and a secret subject, the real subject of repetition, which repeats itself through them. Repetition must be understood in the pronominal; we must find the Self of repetition, the singularity within that which repeats.”[i]
“The dynamic difference was that Sherrie Levine, leading the pack, brilliantly used the copy as a political strategy, whereas the force of my work lies in the premise that thought is power.”[ii]
“So I invent [sic] a woman. I invent [sic] her…and I multiply her… It was my mother. It was a love story at first. But since all great loves are impossible, it wasn’t true. So that’s what happens—I invent [sic] a woman, and I multiply her. I multiply in my images first, in photography, and then in perfume, in decoration, in dresses, in make-up... But it’s not relevant. It’s not what I did, it’s what [what I did] means…”[iii]
I am trying to pay close attention to my remembering. I began these paintings because I needed to demonstrate for myself the mutually constitutive effects of art history and a so-called individual subject. Occasionally, frequently, I do other people’s work as part of my practice. I reflect on the ways that I do other people’s emotional and intellectual work. My practice follows upon that concern.
“We soon perceive that the transference is itself only a piece of repetition, and that the repetition is a transference of the forgotten past…on to all the other aspects of the current situation. We must be prepared to find, therefore, that the patient yields to the compulsion to repeat, which now replaces the impulsion to remember….”[iv]
These paintings evidence not [only] my suffering nor [only] Levine’s. Authorial attribution is a script, a fiction serving to shield the extent to which one (or two) people’s hysteria is symptomatic of a cultural system and its powers rather than being enclosed in a narrative that locates those symptoms within the depths of an interior. The not-exactly-patterns that produce the trauma that produces that hysteria (again, art historical and psychological understructures that produce assumptions from which paintings are composed) reoccurs without repeating and may not [ever] be repaired. Moving away from the site of trauma will mean approaching it again.
[i] Deleuze, Gilles. Difference & Repetition. London: Continuum, 1994. First published in France 1968. Print, p. 23.
[ii] Sturtevant quoted in Bruce Hainley’s “A Conversation with Sturtevant.” Sturtevant – Image Over Image. Zurich: JRP Ringier, 2012. Print, p. 71.
[iii] Serge Lutens quoted in Aaron Ayscough’s “An Interview with Serge Lutens.” GREY. November 30, 2013. Accessed Monday, 19 February 2018. < http://grey-magazine.com/perfume-language-possession-an-interview-with-serge-lutens>
[iv] Freud, Sigmund. “Remembering, Repeating and Working-Through (Further Recommendations on the Technique of Psycho-Analysis II).” The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XII (1911-1913). London: The Hogarth Press, 1994.