Acconci’s unnaturally wide-open mouth is filmed in extreme close-up, which puts the viewer uncomfortably close to the artist. Wrestling to keep his mouth open, his words are directed at the viewer. His incomprehensible voice forms an invitation: “I’m not closed, I’m open. Come in... I’ll accept you, I won’t shut down, I won’t shut you out... I’m open to you, I’m open to everything... This is not a trap, we can go inside, yes, come inside...”.
At a given moment – by accident? – the artist does close his mouth. Thereupon he begs the viewer for forgiveness: “That was a mistake. I won’t close. I won’t close you off. I won’t close you in. I’m open to everything...”. Driven by the implicit contract between artist and viewer, Acconci fights to make true his ‘promise’ to keep his mouth continuously open. The psychology of Acconci’s pathologically enforced openness betrays a desperate stride to be accepted by others. Moreover the constant picture of Acconci’s open mouth also testifies to a sinister and more menacing side, something that often surfaces in other of his works.
- Year 1974
- Duration 00:10:09
Spoken: English US