Gluttonous Eye

object / 82 × 82 × 33 cm / 2018

Christopher P. Cranch created a caricature of poet and transcendentalist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 1830s. The drawing depicted the thinker as a figure consisting of a large eyeball with elongated legs, dressed in a tailcoat and hat, who stands on a hill, gazing into the distance. The caricature was meant to show the relationship between seeing and knowing, and the merging of the eye and the mind of the scholar in the process of contemplating nature. I referred to it in creating a sculpture entitled The Gluttonous Eye. Its sense, however, lies at the antipodes of Cranch’s concept of caricature. The sculpture depicts an equally grotesque monster; its carnal body consists of only two organs: an eye and intestines. It is a thoughtless and autonomous organism with a reception and digestive system that digests visuality in the era of image overproduction; it is a consumer consuming through the visual channel.

Christopher P. Cranch, Transparent eyeball, 1836-1838