Tony Oursler

New York USA 1957, lives and works in New York

cloth, video projection, 2 tripods
varying dimensions

Like a veritable director this doll speaks to actors who are not present. The viewer may feel somewhat confronted by the abrupt instructions. Sometimes the ‘director’ bursts out laughing, and other times she curses away at her actors or sighs in exasperation. Oursler places his dolls, which can be very small but also life-sized, in a variety of stances and situations. Tragic and comic at the same time, they are hung on a tripod or on the wall, lie on the floor or remain trapped beneath furniture. The lines that they speak do not usually constitute a coherent narrative but are fragments that conjure up an image of relational problems, violence or the use of drugs and alcohol. Because the projection is usually directed at the head of the figure in Oursler’s installations, the body, which is made of rags or old clothing, remains lifeless. The dolls have a kind of movement in them, but they are not living people. ‘That is part of their sad beauty,’ says Oursler, ‘which consists of what they are not, cannot be. It’s part of their design; provocation through absence.’