Jonathan Borofsky
Untitled at 2,600,588 1979

Artwork details

Untitled at 2,600,588
Date 1979
Medium Ink on paper
Dimensions Support: 163 x 98 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1984
Not on display

Catalogue entry

Jonathan Borofsky born 1942

T03912 Untitled at 2,600,588 1979

Ballpoint pen on paper 163 x 98 (6 1/2 x 3 7/8)
Inscribed ‘2600588' b.r. and ‘Write Leendest, Christel | Call Eve, Jen | Take checks | BANK-PANTS-SPONGE BRUSHES | Bonds (15) Sew Pants | Pagage [sic] sculpture + send?' on back centre
Purchased from Paula Cooper Inc., New York (Grant-in-Aid) 1984
Exh: Jonathan Borofsky Zeichnungen 1960-1983, Kunstmuseum, Basel, June-July 1983, Städtisches Kunstmuseum, Bonn, Sept.-Oct. 1983, Kunstverein, Hamburg, Jan.-Feb. 1984, Kunsthalle, Bielefeld, April-May 1984, Kunstverein, Mannheim, May-July 1984, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sept.-Oct.1984 (not in cat.); State of the Art: Ideas and Images in the 1980's, ICA, Jan.-March 1987 (no number)

This is executed on the page of a diary covering 23-25 July 1979. The back of the drawing, the section for Wednesday July 25, contains the notes transcribed in the pre-prose section of this entry. The image is drawn over the section for 26-28 July. The artist has commented (see entry for T03908):

I always liked this drawing ... it comes on a pad of paper, which I assume would be the correct date, but not necessarily so. However, the numbering ought to help locate it. Though again not necessarily so.
I don't know what the hat is except its another kind of reference to what goes on inside the brain, we get a look inside the hat, in this case the hat being the reference for the head or the brain - we have on the right side this figure and on the left side there doesn't seem to be anything.
... I had no thought about it while I was doing it, I just did it. In retrospect I can't say why I did it. Which doesn't help you a whole lot.

Although Borofsky was unable to say what the figure inside the hat was doing he confirmed that ‘it's definitely a split brain. If this is the inside of the brain I've definitely split it in half. Like a split brain reference, or like the two receptors going up or whatever. Putting the figure in the right side rather than the left side ... I cant say ... it's definitely my portrait again'. The artist thought that the figure looked more like a man than a woman. He said that the diary notes referred to what he was doing on that day:

Christel was from that space in Zurich, Ink. Laendert was doing the Groningen space. And this was stuff I had to do that day. And this [drawing] is on the back of it... none of these [drawings] reflect my more recent concerns for the human condition or whatever, but in a sense, maybe they do. They reflect a mind that's seeking out it's internal symbols; not necessarily clearly, maybe unclearly ; and that's fine too. I don't have to really know what that means; the fact that I worry about it could make it too clear and I won't be reaching into the deeper part; so I'll be staying in the lighter parts hoping to always be clear.

In 1979-80 Borofsky made a sculpture and a relief showing a head split in two (repr. Philadelphia exh. cat. 1980 nos.47 and 48, see entry on T03911). In an interview with Kathy Halbreich he referred to the duality of the brain, ‘like positive and negative charges.... According to Eastern thinking, the goal is apparently to get beyond dualities to a new kind of energy' (in Jonathan Borofsky: An Installation, exh. cat. Hayden Gallery, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 1980 [p.3]).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.105-6

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