A lot of art is about the body, but Mandy El Sayegh’s installation at Thaddaeus Ropac almost is a body.
You enter through sheets of latex, like a rubber glove put there to ease you into the metaphorical body that’s on display. More latex is spread across the floor, it reeks of medical visits, of doctors and nurses with prying hands. Under all the latex, the artist has pasted newspaper front pages, endless reams of salacious information. Muffled words burble out of speakers, like you’re listening to someone talk from inside their own skull. Canvases are covered in grids and maps and money, all smeared in greasy paint.
Upstairs, pornography starts slipping into the imagery. Bums and breasts and cash and headlines, scattered across canvases that are splooged with red paint and green gunge. The final room is a recreation of Sigmund Freud’s consulting room, replete with couches. This is where all the ideas coalesce into a mucky, ultra-chaotic examination of the human interior. It’s all the organic viscera and psychological machinations of the hectic modern human, mashed together, blood and guts meeting fears about money, questions of belonging, intrusive erotic thoughts.
It’s great. You’re being taken on a trip through the artist’s body and brain. You come out feeling like you’ve just been covered in guts and neuroses. It’s gross, uncomfortable and narcissistic. Human, in other words.