A theme of stripped virginity is taken up in the vitrine-like lobby where E.V. Day’s “Bride Fight” (2006) gives new meaning to the phrase “window dressing”. Also on view, and consonate with Mr. Hirst’s medicalia, are three of her “clam and tongue” sculptures, gruesomely precisionist renderings of human tongues on clam shells, pierced by oysters and mounted on crumpled black velvet in steel and glass display cases.
“Bride Fight”, which could equally have been called “Bridezilla,” is an exhilerating tour de force of camp theatricality evoking Japanese animé and an array of other art historical sources. Ms. Day has deconstructed two bridal gowns and accessories to depict a ferocious catfight, although it is tulle, silk and lace rather than fur that is flying. Ingeniously, the couture fragments are held in place in an elaborate choreography by suspended fishing tackle suspended between floor and ceiling by metal hardware. Inside the Marilyn-style puffed up skirt of one bride are a pair of pink, full bodied panties, while her adversary, whose dress is the more shredded, opts for a skimpier white number with torquoise garters. Suspended between the pair and stretched lace gloves.
The title inevitably recalls Duchamp’s “Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even” (also known as the “Large Glass”) (1915-23) although here the brides manage without male intervention. Formally speaking, the work evokes Abstract Expressionism in its “all-over” web of line and shape. It creates a tight, dynamic gestalt. But while it is fun to marvel at its ingenius construction and witty craft, the work is actually best enjoyed sweeping by at night in a taxi, when it is dramatically lit. The experience then becomes cinematic rather than sculptural, as the props bounce into action.