John Duncan — Icons Jigsaw Puzzles


NB: Quote: “All forms of my work are created to raise questions, to find out everything I can about who I am without fear or judgment, and to encourage you to do the same”. Can you evaluate the above quote in relation to the ICONS?

JD: It could be seen as a comment on how little we know, or want to know, about our own origins.

NB: Can you evaluate on the symbolic value embedded in the word Icon (connotations of religious works of art / worshiping and in the modern sense)

JD: I see all of those aspects in these images.

NB: Art and sex is a subject that is well represented in the history of art. Are these works in essence about sex/sexuality? And if so, where does these works sit within that particular canon?

JD: They’re about assembled knowledge with essential details that are missing.

NB: In what way, if at all, do you place these works within a feminist perspective?

JD: I don’t even try, or care to. I like to believe that these, and in fact all my works, have a far broader perspective than a feminist point of view could possibly include.

NB: Why have you chosen to represent the female gender and not the male?

JD: I am fascinated by the vagina as the source for us all, many of whose processes remain beyond our comprehension. The same could be said for the male gender, of course, but I live with that so it’s less of a mystery — and I explored it quite a bit in my early work.

NB: What about the women photographed, is it significant for you who they are, and how did you describe the project to them?

JD: Their identities make no difference. In the process of photographing them, it was interesting to see that each woman’s vagina, at least these images of them, seemed to convey the opposite to their personalities. On their own, the images have a presence that needs no further explanation.

NB: Could you describe how these “objects” were made?

JD: Several friends and acquaintances were told about the original project and asked to model for it. The photos were shot on infrared film, to read heat from the body as light. The originals are 3m x 4m, accompanied by drawings of them made with my blood on heavy paper.

NB: Is there any specific part of the process of making these “objects” that stands out to you, as specifically relevant? And could you describe the importance of the materials used?

JD: The most relevant aspect of the Jigsaw Puzzles is that, despite decades of intimate contact, I seem to know less now than ever about the makeup of the feminine character. Evidence is overwhelming that I am in no way unique in that.