Robert Gober

Robert Gober has been exploring the boundaries between realism and alienation, intimacy and politics, fetishism and vanity since the mid-nineteen-eighties. His sculptures—which sometimes include objects from daily life (sinks, plumbing parts, children’s beds, doors, suitcases) and dislocated body parts that have usually undergone an unsettling process of metamorphosis— are informed by a sense of imminent threat from illness (above all, AIDS) and death. Untitled makes one essential dimension of Gober’s work particularly clear: the uncanny. What we see is the wax cast of the artist’s leg, which is clothed and complete with shoe, as one would expect: hundreds of human body hairs have been carefully implanted in the wax and a candle protrudes from it. The piece is permeated by a disturbed homoeroticism, mixing the banal (the narrow strip of flesh that can be seen between sock and trouser leg) with the bizarre (the intrusion of the candle, with its phallic connotations).