Richard Dupont is engaged in the centuries long traditions of figurative sculpture, yet he uses his own body as subject matter, advanced technological devices, and twenty-first century materials to achieve realistic, although drastically manipulated, human figures. Dupont has created nine self-portraits that are laterally and horizontally manipulated so that they are radically distorted and can only be seen as an accurate, complete body from one vantage point.
TERMINAL STAGE is intended as a public art piece. The involvement of the viewer is essential in the meaning of the piece. It was also conceived as a site-specific intervention. Lever House was the first modern structure built on the New York City grid, and it is a highly charged and symbolic site, emblematic of the revolutionary changes in architecture and urban space that were to take place over the half century since its construction. The lobby space confounds traditional readings of 'public' and 'private' as well as 'interior' and 'exterior' space, and TERMINAL STAGE emphasizes the instability of a single reading of the site. The lobby space is both a 'terminal' and a 'stage'. The transparency of the site emphasizes the implication of the viewer, the pedestrians, and all of the traffic flow around the building.
Dupont's effective insertion of his own body into the vast depersonalized matrix of biometrics and industrial design began in 2004 with a full body laser scan. To accomplish the body scan, Dupont traveled to a General Dynamics facility on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and participated in a broad anthropometry study. The examination involved extensive manual body measurement (traditional anthropometry) as well as a full body laser scan. The data from such studies are sold to both the military and large clothing manufacturers who use the generic averages to design anything that interfaces with the body, such as ejection seats, flack jackets, blue jeans, socks. These systems and designs are concerned with averages and the standardization of the body.
Dupont, however, is not interested in average body types, and through the use of computer electronic programming he is able to maneuver his real form into surreal shapes that are then converted into a three dimensional model and cast in polyurethane resin. As Dupont states, 'The work actually represents the 'anti-self portrait,' because the body image is reduced to numerical information and computerized polygons that are mechanically translated by the computer into forms, resulting in an object that exemplifies the monolithic force of the digital information age.' His works are rooted in the tradition of those who have attempted to portray, in representational form, the visions that lie beyond rational perception. Dupont's work makes reference to the hallucinatory effects of technology, with its promise of transcendence and its equally potent destructive effects.
Richard Dupont was born in New York City, 1968, and graduated from Princeton University in 1991. His work has been exhibited frequently in numerous one-artist and group exhibitions. His work is included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the New York Public Library. Dupont lives and works in New York City.
Richard D. Marshall, Curator
Works in the exhibition:
TERMINAL STAGE, 2007-08
Nine figures, each approximately 80 inches tall
Cast polyurethane resin; assembled, sanded, and finished by hand
Lever House Art Collection, New York