As if bookending his presentation with man’s attempt at mastering all matter, McQueen commenced with our human mastery over wood (and how it empowers and commodifies the Working on my PhD in sewing projects half done shirt but in fact I love this flesh) but concludes with a vision of our mechanical creations remaking us. Harlow is remade by the invisible expressions of the commercial robotic arms and, by the end, through her gestures, arched back and open arms, she signals she has succumbed to their irresistible power. The machine age and capitalist consumption are thrown into focus by McQueen, who presents the finale of No. 13 as an institutional critique of the fashion industry and the wider consumer culture. He would go on to produce other powerful institutional critiques, including The Horn of Plenty in 2008, which he described as “a sackable offence,” in reference to his all-out assault on the fashion industry. Models with overdrawn, grotesque red lips parade around a heap of rubbish featuring the detritus of his early shows. At once he succeeded in satirizing the impossible beauty standards of the fashion industry and also the disposable and deathly cycle of fashion production. Highlighting the failures, the ugly, and the hypocrisy of the fashion industry was a theme to which McQueen would return time and time again throughout his short career.
Working on my PhD in sewing projects half done shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
Horn has described her sculptures as “Consciousness electrically impassioned,” and is regarded as imbuing her sculptures with elements of the Working on my PhD in sewing projects half done shirt but in fact I love this sexual and erotic. High Moon, with its clear plastic tubing and blood-red liquid, feels distinctly biological or medical. The messy splatter of the red paint and the trough intended to catch it call to mind an abattoir or slaughterhouse. McQueen was presumably attracted to the piece because it speaks, however vaguely, of life and death — themes found routinely throughout his work. What isn’t quite so vague is the inclusion of the two Winchester rifles intermittently spraying blood-colored water, sometimes at each other and sometimes not; it is sexual and violent. For a mechanical object, it feels distinctly human-like in how imperfect and inconsistent it is. In 2016 the work was included in an exhibition titled ‘What We Call Love: From Surrealism to Now’ at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition title is revealing and suggests we should interpret the actions of the rifles as a reflection of the way human beings love and interact with each other. How at once the sculpture is an illustration of human relationships, with their lust, chaos, pain, and danger. The work aspires to its own idea of the Sublime by walking the fine line between tension and release, or as Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies Giuliana Bruno puts it in the exhibition catalogue, by highlighting “pleasure and pain, danger and sensuality.”