Black and white photograph
Frame (light wood): 20 1/4 x 16 3/4 x 1 in. (51.44 x 42.55 x 2.54 cm)
Image: 11 5/8 x 9 in. (29.53 x 22.86 cm)
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Purchase with funds provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. and Councilman Joel Wachs
Untitled documents a performance in which Guenter Brus writhed on a floor covered in a viscous white paint. Though Brus did not harm himself, violence and damage are everywhere suggested—the black painted line dividing his body seems to split him open, sludgelike paint covers his eyes and seeps into his mouth, and a corkscrew ominously points toward his face. The work grew out of Brus’s interest in emphasizing the process of painting, rather than just the finished product. Having concluded that his body was the origin of his pictures, he proceeded to smear himself with paint in both private and public “actions,” or performances. The raw directness of Brus’s engagement with his body is striking, but his allusions to self-mutilation have symbolic, historical meanings as well. Referring to the Holocaust and Nazism, Brus, an Austrian, commented that humanity’s “recent self-mutilations” motivated his stagings of masochistic actions.