"New Man Is Learning To Swim" - 1996
Xrays, dried fish, wood, tarpaper; dimensions variable
Dominic Centrum, Plzeň, Czech Republic
The Czech title was “Nový Člověk Se Uči Plavat.” The term “Nový Člověk” (“New Man”) was being used by one or other of the Czech political parties contesting that year’s election; it seemed to have connotations similar to that of Britain’s New Left or USA’s Compassionate Conservativism, ie pointing towards a guilt-free yuppification of one’s sense of individual responsibility to the community, ie. capitalism is sexy; almost the Playboy Man image. When society changes rapidly around the citizen, well the citizen then must find a new persona that fits the new surround. Who better to inscribe the parameters of that new persona than a political party.
I showed an x-ray of the new (mutated) skeleton of this New Man & set it in a pitch-black cellar surrounded by dozens of dried, bleached fish carcasses from California’s Salton Sea, suspended from invisible fishing line, turning slowly & aimlessly in circles. The fish were brought over as carry-on luggage. The dampness of the cellar gallery caused the fish to start rotting after two weeks.