A little more than 80 years separate the book “Brave New World,” by Aldous Huxley, and this work by the artist Rodrigo Calixto. However, what brings both works together, one from literature and the other from plastic arts, is Calixto’s intention of materializing Huxley’s timeless narrative.
Likewise Huxley, many authors emerged with different approaches on the relationship between time and wealth. To this day, and in different periods throughout history, political, philosophical, social and cultural questions have been made on this topic, which seems to always follow civilizations and their wishes.
However, even though opinions vary, it is possible to affirm that, after the Industrial Revolution, the relationship between time and wealth acquired a new social meaning that advanced through all cultural periods to recent times. So much so that today, almost two centuries after the height of slavery in the world, a new form of forced servitude, or at least subservience, is discussed.
Master of Self is a work that criticizes the context that encompasses the relationship of submission between human beings and the objects and feelings surrounding them.
While assembling the piece, the artist carefully chose various elements that could form a composition; the observer becomes an essential part of the narrative. For instants, the observer assumes the condition of being the very own critique.
The gold-plated legcuffs evoke contradictory feelings. While one feels repulse, caused by the memory of a grotesque object, at the same time gold imposes an inviting condition, of desire. The work creates tension, strangeness that constantly changes the observer’s impression.
The mirror is the unit that puts the observer inside the work, personifies the narrative and sparks a discussion and reflection on the questions raised by this interaction. After all, are we really the masters of our own whims?