Jill Magid – Foreign Body Ingested

September 23 - October 15, 2022
Curator: Oliver Krug

Foreign Body Ingested will be on view from September 23 at Magasin III and is conceived as an artistic comment on the practice of Chris Burden. A new production by American conceptual artist Jill Magid for Magasin III, Foreign Body Ingested (Portrait of My Son) will be unveiled and on view at the center of the museum’s current collection display of works by Chris Burden, together with one of Magid’s earlier works.

Artist, writer, and filmmaker, Jill Magid interrogates structures of power on an intimate level, exploring the emotional, philosophical, and legal tensions that exist between institutions and individual agency. In each of her in-depth projects, Magid embeds herself within systems of authority, such as government bureaucracies, a secret service agency, or the guardians of other artists’ estates. Her work is realized in a variety of media, including sculpture, 2D works, text and film.

Magasin III has invited Jill Magid to artistically comment on its exhibition of artist Chris Burden, currently on view at the museum with a presentation of pages from Burden’s self-published Deluxe Photo Book 1971–73, where the artist documented twenty-three of his own performances from that period. Magid’s work reacts to Burden’s by probing into the concept of freedom in a similar way, testing the limits of what lies within legal and ethical bounds while integrating the artist’s own body into artistic practices. At the same time Magid identifies a problematic heroic posturing in Burden’s concept of daring, and in contrast, positions her own artistic provocations from a place of vulnerability and questioning, allowing for criticality towards the privilege she occupies.

Magid approaches the installation of Burden’s work as its own system of power, recognizing that this system is as much about Burden’s work as it is the institution’s exhibition of it, and the artworld’s continued canonization of his early performance practice. Defining her own subject position in relation to this system, she conceived a new production for Magasin III, Foreign Body Ingested (Portrait of My Son) (2022) and chooses to present it alongside her work Auto Portrait Pending (2005).

Foreign Body Ingested (Portrait of My Son) takes its point of departure from a coin pertaining to the artist’s work Tender, which was ingested by her young son. The penny is fixed in a custom platinum setting and attached to a silver chain the length of his digestive tract. Originally, the Tender penny formed part of a public artwork, commissioned during the COVID-19 pandemic where Magid interceded in the U.S. economy with a dispersed monument that consisted of 120,000 newly-minted 2020 pennies, edge-engraved with the phrase, “THE BODY WAS ALREADY SO FRAGILE”, and entered into circulation. The number of Tender pennies corresponds to the value of the $1200 stimulus checks that were issued to individuals by the U.S. Treasury.

In Auto Portrait Pending, Magid signed a contract with a company to become a diamond when she dies. The contract specifies the agreement for her transformation and the details of her eventual diamond. Upon her death, the diamond will be created from the carbon of her cremated remains.

While Auto Portrait Pending collapses the artist’s body and her body of work (and its legacy), to circulate in the art market, Foreign Body Ingested (Portrait of My Son) extends this gesture, after the artist’s work first circulated through the body of her own son.

– Oliver Krug, Senior registrar Magasin III

Read an interview with Museum Director Tessa Praun about her thoughts on inviting artists to comment on other artistic practices here.