Owen Connors

Causality Dilemma

Causality Dilemma by Owen Connors

Artwork Detail

The circular, double-sided painting, Causality Dilemma is inspired by medieval desco da parto. Popular in Florence and Sienna in the fifteenth century, the painted trays were used to serve food to women during their ‘laying in’ and later hung on display. Connors takes this archetype of painting history and subverts the reproductive narrative, instead exploring the incubation of viral disease through transference of fluids and penetration.

In this work, a semi-nude male torso penetrates their bellybutton using their finger, while an open container of yoghurt with a spoon ready for consumption sits alongside. On the reverse, a circular arrangement of salad surrounded by a process of sandwich making draws on the structural configuration of viral molecules. Spokes project from the orange wooden frame, carries the viral metaphor further, implying protein spikes which function to penetrate host cells and initiate infection.

Mixing the squeamish and the erotic, Connors’ work investigates the queer experience and ‘how identity politics and the expression of queer desire relates to concerns of form and aesthetic hierarchies’ – Owen Connors, The Art Paper, 2021.

Causality Dilemma
Owen Connors
Production date
egg tempera on board, hand-carved lacquered ash frame
400 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2023
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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