Tony Oursler – Red Shadow
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Tony Oursler

An extension of his drawings and collages, the exhibition will consist of large aluminum wall sculptures of unprecedented scale evoking the same spontaneity as his works on paper. The forms suggest splatters of milk, water, blood, semen and other fluids.


A large proportion of Tony Oursler’s work is about the face and his interest in the way in which the face communicates feelings.
When his faces lack a nose, hair, ears or neck, it is because of a desire to discover how few of the elements in a face are necessary for us still to interpret it as a face – and for it still to be able to be expressive. By using the face, Tony Oursler opens the way to a large number of allusions ranging from elements deriving from areas ranging from the media via mass communication to psychology. It is about expression and mimicry. The focus of much of Tony Oursler’s work is thus our ability to read other people, to feel empathy or the lack of it.


People tend to see faces in abstract, noisy, and grainy patterns, the more random the better. It is as if the brain tries to read the unreadable in the most familiar of ways. If one sees a face in the clouds it is an amusing occurrence but upon further inspection it is confusing and contradictory. To confuse things more the face has characteristics; it looks, for example, young, shy and slightly fearful. Of course it’s just a cloud but why does it make me want to help and comfort it? Why is it upsetting to look at? This is not an acceptable mental state, perhaps it is tainted by contradictory shades of psychosis. To observe the personified cloud as it slowly distorts on the wind is to remain in that moment of confusion. Most of us would shut this thought pattern down quickly. I don’t see people who are not there nor hear words that are unspoken.

Red Shadow, Video

Artist: Tony Oursler 

Year: 2008


122 x 122 x 10 cm