Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Bite 40: Andy Warhol - A Woman's Suicide

A Woman's Suicide, 1963, silkscreen print, installation view
"There was no profound reason for doing a death series, no 'victims of their time'; there was no reason for doing it at all, just a surface reason."
                                                     - Andy Warhol
The subject matter here is not so much a woman's death by her own hand as the public consumption of that event's representation. A photographer has captured a woman mid-flight. Warhol, having appropriated this image, has reproduced it degraded and repeated referencing the simulacra of commodity culture and mass media. 

We experience the image repeating and overlapping - like the visualisation of a stuck record. Any meaning, sentimentality or individuality has been drained from the only referenced event; yet we still ask ourselves about her. In the lack of any information - or perhaps because of it - we are intrigued by the mystery of this woman's circumstance.

At the same time Warhol confines her to a cliche, a generalisation, merely referring to the reference of suicide.