Friday, December 18, 2009

How Freudian are These Slips of the Tongue in Art?

"[Urs] Fischer's fans may have also been disappointed by a malfunctioning sculpture in the show. The work, a motion-activated replica of a human tongue called Noisette, is intended to result in a mischievous slapstick routine by popping out of a hole in the wall as visitors pass by. 

"But it refused to emerge for extended stretches of time, resulting in visitors waving their arms or sticking their fingers in the hole to try to coax it out. At one point, a man wielding a large video camera hovered over the hole, hoping to catch the pink protrusion in action. 

"One observer reported seeing Gioni trying to reset the device controlling the sculpture. 'The tongue was working all night — however, it requires a short lag time in between [extensions],' Einsohn explained. 'And with so many people, sometimes it had trouble resetting so quickly.'" ~~New York Magazine 10/28/09 (link below)

As anatomical imagery seems to be popping up everywhere in art, the tongue, rich in symbolism, form and evocative power has been used by artists literally and figuratively.
Artist, Catharine Jacobi has a piece titled Lingua Franca, created from found materials, wood and plaster. Don't forget the Gene Simmons of Kiss and The Rolling Stones Classic Tongue Logo.

The Pierre Paulin Tongue Chair was developed in 1967. (right)

Triple Tiki Mask Ku, Kanaloa and Maori diety. A trio of Tiki meaning for your home, bar area, game room, Tiki of strength and healing, of the ocean and the diety who's ready to hang.


Hand carved and hand painted, 40" by 7 inches (100cm X 18cm).

Smile Tote Bag by koselitamer
Browse other Artsprojekt Bags
The National Zoo in Washington D.C. has sculptures which display life-sized replicas of tigers' paws and tongue. "Compare yourself," the sign says.

Rock music has given us some classic and famous tongues.

Gene Simmons and Mick Jagger come to mind right away. 

In John Irving's novel, The World According to Garp, the Ellen Jamesians cut out their tongues to be one with Ellen James, who had her tongue cut out after she was raped.

Ellen, herself is embarrassed that they are mutilating themselves and wants them to stop. It's a great book and The World According to Garp is on DVD on Amazon. They also have some interesting items like World According to Garp Fish Parody Key Chains.
Would this be a tongue-in-cheeky piece of art on your wall?

Beware of Loose Lips! Hold your tongue!
WWII Vintage Poster
WWII Vintage Poster by Vintage_Bubb
Make custom prints online at

Disney Minnie Mouse Infant Silver Dress Hologram glitter Cheeky Minnie Shoes may be just what your little one needs to make relatives ooooo and aaah.(left)

NPR's Weekend Edition in 2001, Scott talks with Jim Schnieders, general manager of Steel Skin, Inc. in Poway, California. Steel Skin makes tongue jewelry, including tongue studs that glow in the dark and blink with electric light.

As its ad says, "Gross them out with Mr. Gross Mouth! This hinged model of the teeth, tongue, and oral cavity shows the effects of using smokeless tobacco. 

"A bottle of tobacco juice comes with each model and instructions show how to make the tongue spit." The model is mounted on a wooden base. The model is available in more than one size and can be found at

So remember at this time of the year and always, be good to your tongue and it'll be good to you.

Urs Fischer exhibited at the New Museum, New York through February, 2010

A Christmas Story is available on Amazon.

If you're reading this on my Facebook Fan Page, you may also want to check out my blog.

1 comment:

  1. what I fabulously creative post! enjoyed it immensely!! namaste, elsie


Welcome and thanks for visiting.

Please keep your comments topical & respectful. We can't accept links or be responsible for content of comments.