Charles Ray

Since the early nineteen-seventies, American artist Charles Ray has made his body into a key material in his work - sometimes directly (Plank Piece, 1973) and sometimes indirectly, through the use of dummy figures created in his own image (particularly in the famous Oh Charley Charley Charley form 1992), in which eight effigies of the artist abandon themselves to a mind-boggling ‘selforgy’). No (1992) consists of a photograph of a hyper-realistic wax statue depicting the artist. The apparent self-portrait is actually the image of an image. The simplicity of the end result (which looks like a standard snapshot) means the effort, time and energy that were required to realize it are rendered invisible. Light from the Left (2007), a bas-relief depicting the artist with his wife, in a composition that is both stylized and intimate, reveals how deeply imbued Charles Ray’s work is with knowledge and appreciation for the history of sculpture, from Egyptian bas-reliefs to Greek sculpture. In accordance with its title, the work is placed in such a way that natural light illuminates from the left just like the female figure illuminates her companion in the same direction.