Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World

Solo en Inglès

Sculpture with found domestic objects.

Jimmie Durham (b. 1940), Something…Perhaps a Fugue or an Elegy, 2005. Cameras, television, VHS player, amplifier, tripod, steel pipes, hardware, PVC pipes, plastic, rope, acrylic paint, pine, seashell, brass heads, cast marble-dust head, oak box, glass bottle, wood furniture parts, tree branches, tire, mirrors, metal lock, metal chains, lights, wires, plywood pallets, armadillo shell, cow skull and bones, ink on paper. 71 × 275 ½ x 63 in. (180 × 700 × 160 cm). Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Italy. Image courtesy of kurimanzutto, Mexico City

Narrator: Durham made this enormous sculpture for the 2005 Venice Biennale.

Jimmie Durham: We went out to used things places, and we went to flea markets and we went to highway roadside stands, which Northern Italy is full of, and just started buying whatever junk we could find and it all fit.

Jimmie Durham: I had some horse bones, a cow skull, a rattlesnake skin, a half an armadillo shell. I had a bunch of junk in my studio as usual. So then I said, "I always like boxes that don't open." I like the mysteriousness of the always-closed box.

Everything is connected, and everything is connected almost in a Rube Goldberg machine-type way.

Narrator: Durham called this work Something...Perhaps a Fugue or an Elegy. A fugue is a musical form where two or more themes weave together over and over again. An elegy is a type of poem, a lament for the dead. The title hints that the sculpture, with its mysterious interior and complex mechanisms, may be a meditation on the cycle of life and death.