Sandy Gibbs

Man action 1 (2007)

1 min 33 secSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

Accompanied by the soundtrack of a beating heart, a lone male figure wearing a suit and tie performs a ritualised scrubbing of an empty swimming pool bottom. Hand-held filming, moody lighting, and the soundtrack combine to create a strange sense of menace inside this large empty municipal container, where the red plastic bucket is elevated to the status of fetish object and the dipping action of the man’s tie is suggestively sexualised.

“As a symbol connecting architecture with desire, there is surely none more potent than that of the swimming pool. Desire is embedded into the architecture, into the water, and into the swimmers themselves. But in this work, it is night time and this pool is empty – there is to be no swimming in this pool, no watery abandonment, no Freudian-return-to-the-womb, no flirting with the sensuousness of water-as-nature-as-female. This pool becomes a nocturnal symbol not of desire but of structure, order and control.”

“The action is a playful riff on Mierle Laderman Ukele’s scrubbing performance work (Hartford Wash: Washing, Tracks, Maintenance: Outside (1973)). His intention is not clear, but his actions could be metaphors for sex, desire and narcissism as he plays out a weirdly inverted homage to Jackson Pollock-like heroic masculinity.”

Artist's statement

Other works by Sandy Gibbs

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