Milkteeth 2014 Archival pigment print on cotton paper 120 x 120 cm Edition of 5 + 2 AP
In Chinese culture, the pearl is said to allow an individual to become more open, to find the meaning and purpose of one’s true self. The formation of a pearl inside a pearl oyster occurs from the presence of foreign material inside the body of the oyster. To save itself from this foreign material, the mollusc coats the object with many layers of nacre, which become the pearl. This self-portrait imagines the shedding of whiteness from inside the body, where each particle of whiteness has been used to mask the external body. Here the artist has shed his milk teeth, or ‘pearly whites’, and through accretion has formed an iridescent white hood. There is a strange labour in the construction of this talisman. The mask disguises and transforms the wearer, but does it bestow the power to find one’s true self?