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Self-Portrait Special Mission Project: Akira Revisited
Anime Hair in flames: resin and soot, Simon Preston Gallery
8 x 16 x 24 inches
2008

2008 Special Mission Project/Akira Revisited

A part of the Violent Bear It Away exhibition at Simon Preston Gallery (2009). A satirical self-portrait of myself as a Murakami Anime figure/sculpture, bodiless on the ground, cast in resin and soot. I was interested in using material that was post-fire material and have used dust, bone ash, and other remains in order to re-constitute identity in the past. The hyper-stylized hair is cast out of soot from a burn-out, the shape of the tresses are emergency flames, and the faceless, beat-down wig complicates the male gaze.

"Special Mission Project/Akira revisited furthers Lopez’ practice of manifesting subversive, sexualized forms,however now Lopez reveals her critique of Takashi Murakami’s Superflat culture. In Superflat, distinctions of High and Low are compressed in an airtight register. Unlike Murakami’s drive towards the exotification and commodification of the female body, Lopez adopts an opaque, feminist approach. The wig serves as a self-portrait, complicating the male gaze of Murakami’s Superflat legacy. If this 'wig' is to be read as an autobiography, Lopez has staged her own death. In many ways Murakami’s artwork titled Special Mission Project ko2 formally objectifies the female body: a cyborg woman pulls a ripcord on her back and, in a three-stage process, transforms into a plane. The subject’s breasts and genitals are on full display, slowly expanding and taking center stage in the transformation. On the contrary, Lopez stares back,assuming an approach dictated by lack. The underside of the crashed wig reveals a labial form; a metaphorical black hole; a silhouette of absence and negation. Lopez puts forth the Anti-Special Mission Project ko2 or rather its counter. Here, Lopez presents a hybrid sculpture that compresses science fiction with altered realities: the viewer is presented an alternate manifestation of Akira, a Neo-Neo-Tokyo in the next chapter of the Superflat era."

Jeffrey Uslip, Simon Preston Gallery, 2009, excerpt from essay for The Violent Bear It Away solo exhibition.

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