Skyline – Indiana Rouge, Champagne Rosé, Caramel Pink, Passion Red; 2006
silicone, wood, mirror, motor, motion detector
ca. 150 x 50 x 50 cm
The piece was inspired by Federico Fellini´s Film ‘City of Women’ (1979), in which Marcello Mastroianni has to surrender to the force of the assumedly weaker sex. The sculpture´s title alludes to various shades of red lipstick that Johanna Smiatek groups on a table-sized wood pedestal in the form of enlarged silicone casts, creating a shape reminiscent of a skyline. The elastic silicone lipsticks stand on a board that vibrates when a viewer approaches. A mirror is mounted underneath the board, with the city names ‘Paris’, ‘Zurich’, ‘London’ and ‘Berlin’ written on it in various shades of red, and which can be read by the viewer with the help of a further mirror mounted at knee height.
The material-iconographic proximity of silicone to objects from the realm of erotica is consciously reflected, with the chain of phallic associations progressing from wavering skyscrapers to lipsticks on women´s lips to vibrators. This calls a famous work of American Pop Art to mind. Claes Oldenburg´s object ‘Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks’, installed at Yale 1969, had a huge lipstick form on a tank-track base at its base. The juxtaposition and fusion of feminine and male attributes was advanced with kinetic measures in this case as well. In its original version, the sculpture had a pneumatic mechanism for swelling and shrinking the lipstick, which was only made from colored fabric.
Johanna Smiatek has worked with the elasticity of the material silicone in previous works, casting red ladies´ shoes in silicone on square boards of wood that are animated with a motor ( Schuhflimmern, 2002). She is intrigued by the material´s quivering and the sense of a seemingly magic animation of the sculptures. (Quote: Marc Wellmann)