Tom Sachs' Barbie Slave Ship was included in the 12th Biennial of Art in Lyon, France, last year. Fundamentally about economic power and control, the artist says this work, which includes some extensive miniature detail, is about how advertising and pop culture can be seen as a modern form of slavery. "In the 18th century, it was possible to control someone's body," Sachs says, "but this became unnecessary when the rich and powerful learned to control the mind."
Also in this collection are the paintings that will be on exhibit at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris from March 29th - May 3rd. The upcoming show, titled "American Handmade Paintings" incorporates Sachs' style of showing recognizable imagery from American culture and consumerism with his work of "scarring." Made of painted plywood (watch Love Letter to Plywood here) and hardware, with heavily worked surfaces, these paintings exhibit a sculptural quality.
That may be because Sachs is a sculptor, probably best known for his elaborate recreations of modern icons. A lot has been made of the conceptual underpinnings of these sculptures, and how Sachs samples capitalist culture: remixing, dubbing and spitting it back out again, so the results are transformed and transforming.
Sachs embraces using whatever material is readily available or scavenged to get the job done. His works are functional. His firearms fire live ammunition, things with wheels roll, and if there are speakers, they are playing music.
Tom Sachs runs his studio according to a code illustrated in the movie Ten Bullets, which can be on his website, www.tenbullets.com The rest of Sachs' work can also be viewed at www.tomsachs.org.
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