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Someone Has Stolen my Third Eye

Museum Link:

Source Link:

Date Minted: March 16, 2019

Artist Description: Gif,

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

Carla Monni, creating Crypto Art under the pseudonym Cryptoartista, is fascinated with bodies, or more specifically her body. Every one of her 13 SuperRare creations focuses on her own form: nude, contorted, hands, bent over, touching, reaching, breaking apart, grasping. In her own words, she seeks to “bring the values of performance art within the crypto world,” before going on to say that she, “ working in order to preserve in an eternal life the communicative message of [the] human body. How? Tokenizing her own movements.” There’s much to explore in how this self-sanctioned commoditizing of the artist’s own body is achieved.  Through some methods which focus on vulnerability (which include the aforementioned nude renderings), others that seem deifying, and others, like Someone Has Stolen My Third Eye, which defy either classification. Monni has only made 13 pieces available on Superrare for our public perusal. Should one therein, like Someone Has Stolen, stand out singularly from the rest, it causes major ripples of understanding throughout the artist’s collection.

Someone Has Stolen My Third Eye is pastel-washed human minimalism, a Gif, and an examination of human form. The artist, Monni, is either hovering over an invisible chair or simply standing with her legs crossed, dressed in flaming flamingo pants and a flowing white blouse (which looks as much like an innocent artist’s smock), while looking down at her lap. A white man’s hand hangs perpetually over her head like a skin-swathed Sword of Damocles, then reaches down to her forehead and pulls her head back, removing a drawer from her skull, out of which pops a human eyeball, an eyeball which flies skyward before being plucked from the air by another white man’s hand, larger and appearing from nowhere, which absconds with the eye and vanishes from the frame. 

The whole piece is washed-out, as an old photograph is, faded as if having been placed under too-bright sunlight for too many years. The colors are light and bright, the whites blinding, and since white is the predominant color here, somewhat overwhelming. Whiteness pervades: the artist is white, as are the hands above her, manipulating her. So is the background, and so is most of her outfit. Take away brown hair, red pants, and a bit of flush in the artists’ cheeks, and this piece could be a collection of whiteness’ many forms and shades.

Although based on what Monni herself said about her work, this piece is not an exploration of color but one of bodies: her own body. But this is not the Vetruvian Man, and does not seem interested in examining the human body scientifically or anatomically. After all, Monni’s body, presented here, is covered, the contours of her form hidden under flowing clothing. Even the movement of her head, upwards and downwards, makes it difficult to focus on the texture of her bare skin. I wouldn’t be able to recognize Monni in a crowd after seeing this piece, is another way to put it. But it’s also a mistake to focus too myopically on body itself. In other pieces, Monni does not provide observers that freedom. Elsewhere in her oeuvre, bodies are the sole focus, and their interaction with various objects, planetary bodies, shapes, etc. forms the crux of each piece. But here, the body is not an active participant in what we’re seeing. Rather, the body appears in a state of experimentation; that is to say, it’s being experimented on. The two hands, hanging over her head and presumably prepared to pounce from just off-frame, are the doers in this piece, and Monni’s body, devoid of its agency just as it is devoid of its naturalized form, is subject to their whims. 

Their whims being, apparently, to steal the Third Eye within Monni’s head, which I believe be read as her creative spirit (or perhaps her sacred femininity). The Third Eye has traditionally been an image in Eastern Religion, used to denote spiritual awakening, before being co-opted by the Crystals-and-Goat-Yoga wave of Eat-Granola-and-Post-Inspirational-Memes-on-Pinterest pseudo-spiritualists. That’s my conjecture, not the artist’s, but it’s worth briefly exploring each of these possibilities: that the piece is being sincere or that it’s being ironic. 

If sincere, this piece seems to be commenting on male manipulation of the female artist or of the artist in general, a manipulation which ultimately strips the artist of her agency and creativity. That male could be a physical man, certainly, and this could be a piece about gender politics: men trying to destroy the female artist’s creative center, or traditionally male-dominated power structures bending the artist into postures of their own design and thus sapping the women of their unique creative energy. It could also be a reaction to male-dominated, Patriarchal systems of wealth-creation and capital-movement which plague the art world, squeezing so many artists into molds, commodifying their work, stealing the fruits, and turning the entire ecosystem rote and uninspired. 

If ironic, we can see this piece as a kind of freedom en media res. Let them take the eye! If it’s just a false trapping of fake spirituality, this is no grand tragedy but a serendipitous jailbreak. However, this is an Italian artist living in Finland, and I do not claim to suggest that such an artist would necessarily know with any kind of intimacy whether the appropriative influencer-spirituality which plagues affluent American communities extends there as well. But if it does, then we can see this piece as the artist beset by the whims of larger, whiter (read economically powerful) forces, who accost her and steal what they believe is her inspiration (meaning, perhaps, that they impose their own narcissistic views and opinions on her work, quite like I’m doing now) using it for their own whims, to confirm their own agencies and biases. 

And again and again and again. A gif, repeating on forever. 

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