Tooth and Nail (1970)

Dennis Oppenheim is one of America's finest and most creative conceptual and performance artists. He first gained acclaim in the 1960s, as a pioneer in conceptual artworks, body art, video and sculpture. As if all this wasn't enough, the man is still working on his art even as you're reading this. His early works tended to focus on performance actions that centered on representations of human and animal bodies. These actions can often be seen as mesmerizing, confusing, and mysterious.

In the early 1970s, Dennis Oppenheim was in the vanguard of artists using film and video to investigate themes relating to body and performance. This portfolio features a selection of his works known as the Aspen Tapes, produced between 1970 and 1974, in which Oppenheim uses his own body as a site of experimentation in the personal. In these works the artist enters into an intimate and dynamic dialogue with his body as he explores the boundaries of personal risk, bodily transformation, and interpersonal communication. His works explore new and unusual forms of communication and address and they present the act of communicating with others as a physical and biological extension of the self.
Oppenheim has therefore created a system that allows the artist to become the material; to consider himself the sole vehicle of art: the distributor, initiator and receiver, simultaneously. Understanding the body as both subject and object allows the artist to think in terms of an entirely different surface. It creates a shift in direction from the creation of solid matter to the pursuit of internal or surface change.

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