“Hannah Villiger: Amaze Me” is part exposition, part fleshed out topography. On the ground floor, Skuptural, 1984–85, features twelve enlarged photographs of the artist’s armpit hair. Here as elsewhere in the exhibition, the structured repetition of Villiger’s subject trivializes its meaning; the sexualized returns to the ontological and vice versa. The sheer scale of her work is an ironic retort to anyone who would literally make a big deal out of the female body.

Upstairs, the photographs on display are no longer a provocation but, on the contrary, acts of love. In the framed testimony of At any rate, 1980, Villiger’s freckles match the lipstick of her lover (also her collaborator and frequent model) as the two crouche under a table. Both are compressed by the claustrophobic composition, but they hold their heads high. In Block III, 1988, the Polaroid flash obscures more than it reveals: cheap lighting flattens the surface of a torso, turning it into a blank canvas, a tabula rasa interrupted only by a pair of pink nipples. After her separation from her partner, Villiger began to duplicate her body using mirrors. Sometimes the end results are as playful as a kaleidoscope, as in Block XVI1989. In others, like Block XXX, 1993-1994, the artist distorts his body into something monstrous, an amalgamation of pretzel limbs and solitary toes. In desire, we duplicate ourselves. Again and again and again.

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