Overt Symbols

2015

1,500 silk neckties, new and old

 

Neckties, which hang down and are not worn by women, are definitely a male symbol says, Freud. Historically, neckties were worn by men in the accessory’s association with military regalia and the rise of urban capitalism. The industrial culture created a confluence of public and private space, traditionally demarcating the division of gender. This movement provoked a deep need for a redefinition of gender, a reassertion of masculine identity and prerogative says Dr. Richard Boothby in his analysis of Freud titled Sex on the Couch. Maybe Freud is irrelevant now, but this accessory has certainly made its mark on the collective unconscious. 

I imagine how it must feel to experience both such restraint and standardization, agreeing to nearly choking for the duration of an important, accountable event. I imagine this asphyxiation is both terrifying and exciting.

The sculpture measures 8 feet wide, 14 feet high, and is suspended from the ceiling. It contains hundreds if not thousands of men’s ties, most of them worn at some point by somebody. I installed it as a load-bearing piece, for viewer to not only see the piece but engage physically by touching, climbing, and even suspending from the work. One is meant to engage the body in this mountain of ties, viscerally experiencing this object in a new way, when presented in mass. While a single tie remains relatively innocuous, a suspended structure of thousands of ties towering over the human body conveys a wholly different message

 

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© 2020

 Liza Buzytsky 

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