Eleanor Antin, The King, 1972
Eleanor Antin
The King

After Eleanor Antin (*1935, USA) worked with Abstract Expressionism and Concept Art for some time, she started introducing materials from other genres into her works and began staging performances in the early seventies. In her performances, the artist distinguishes between naturalistic transformations and psychological works. For Carving (1972), for example, she slimmed down ten pounds while works like The King rather embody aspects of Antin’s personality. Over the years, she has continued to develop her fictional personae while also creating new ones.

As in her works The Ballerina and the Bum and The Adventures of a Nurse (1976), The King is one of Eleanor Antin’s performances, in which she takes on the identity of a fictional persona. She can be seen here applying hair to her face, as Antin writes, going “through a variety of bearded faces seeking the identity most appropriate to her facial structure and satisfying to her aspirations.” The artist transforms herself into the persona of a male ruler.

Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Document media
Video, b&w, silent, 52:00 min

Issue date

Laura Cottingham (COT 1)

be-coming, de/construct identities, masculinity, masquerade, roleplay