The Ties That Bind

Jim Shaw


Painting, 167.6 x 157.5 cm.
Materials: acrylic on muslin

Collection: Maurice and Paul Marciano, Los Angeles.

Jim Shaw's fascinations with hairstyles and surreal imagery come together in The Ties that Bind. The confident look, big smile and matching outfits of the 'perfect couple' depicted here refer to the ideal image of homeliness and happiness, as presented by the advertising world since the 1950s. This image is contradicted by the fact that the characters seem to be swallowed up by a swirling mass of curly, blond hair. The work holds up a mirror to us of a vain world dominated by outward appearances. The expression 'the ties that bind', which also serves as title for the entire exhibition, is used to describe a common idea or belief that connects people and has to do with social cohesion, group identification and identity formation. However, the ties that connect are often also the ties that chain or even suffocate...

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