Brian Burnett
Facelifts and Flirtations for the
Venus of Willendorf

Interactive Installation

2004
Powder coated steel, chrome, mirror, motion sensor, plastic, shopping bags, 400 watt lights
14x 8x 6
As part of a body of installations titled “Sites of Plural Lust and Tragedy,” “Facelifts and Flirtations for the Venus of Willendorf,” alters the functional uses of items pertinent to department stores. Theoretically, within these transient environments emerge voids and gaps of vulnerability evident in multiple surveillances. This passive/compulsive state of looking and being looked at strips the security of one’s identity into a rather Freudian wake of unconditional desires and actions. The work not only reflects a figurative pun, but also engenders a symbol for the mutated social and political conditioning that governs these conventional frameworks. Mythically, the spiral formations of plastic shopping bags reference that of ritual, identity, time, and ownership. Historically, the work reconciles both contemporary and prehistoric issues of the times. As indicated, the title references the Paleolithic goddess of fertility “Venus of Willendorf,” which raises the big question, what was the artist’s original interpretation for the function of her cultural context? In this case, the cosmically altered configuration might assume a sexually aroused disposition or merely represent a time “now,” when American obesity is claimed as an American tragedy reaching epic and robust proportions.
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