Exhibitions: Jean-Michel Othoniel: My Way

Jean-Michel Othoniel: Lacan's Knot

This work is part of a recent series of “knot” sculptures in which irregular glass beads have been replaced with mirrored glass, a handmade appearance giving way to a smooth, industrial finish resembling polished steel. The minimalism of these perfect spheres contrasts with the intricacy of the overall three-dimensional shape. Continuous, closed loops inscribed in space bring to mind abstracted mathematical equations and molecular structures, or perhaps the convoluted tracery and arabesques of Islamic art. Knots organize themselves around an axis and define a central void, and in these suspended works, as in his necklaces and mandorlas, Othoniel explores a form that implies the body and its absence.

The title of the work refers to the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan’s use of the Borromean knot (an image found on the Renaissance Borromeo family’s coat of arms) to explain the interrelationship of the real, symbolic, and imaginary in his theory of human subjectivity. It is a group of three rings linked so that if any one of them is severed, all three become separated.