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Artist Statement:

 

I AM… challenges the ideological ‘self’ and calls into question the sociological institutions which are used to condition societal members and inform definitions of personality type, personal identity, and behavioral choices. The sculpture asks the viewer to unpack their own identities and beliefs regarding who they are. The main structure is a beauty-school mannequin head, which would typically be used to train hair dressers. The mannequin directly references beautification, the industrialization of identity, and the social protocols involved in people’s presentation of ‘themselves’. The hair was shaven from the mannequin’s head, replicating the action taken in many religions to challenge the ego and show commitment to selflessness. Ink was used to obstruct the face with the names of popular western magazines and fashion companies; like-wise, ink was used to cover the scalp with the words ‘I am’. The relationship between the words on the face and those on the scalp refer to social exposures and how that exposure informs experiences and thought. Wax is used as a way of masking; it is sweet smelling and contains dried flowers. Although the wax has a pleasant aroma and is decorated, it further obstructs the head and face while referencing impermanence; the result of which is a disturbing structure. Through the wax, the writing can still be seen. Much like the masks of persona used within societies, the wax cannot fully disguise what is underneath and it calls attention to the inconsistencies inherently attached to building an identity or persona for oneself. I AM… is ironically put on display atop a pedestal, along with the superego to which identity belongs.