Jeanne Claude aka Nana designates SEND, signs out, then shuts down her Module, semi-satisfied with O’Rourke’s first installment (of which there may be many), one uncovered tidbit worth the initial lot:


A cat makes the last of repeated attempts to lick her bleeding hind-parts but relents; resigned to agony, she endures without a yowl, accepts the death her stopped-up progeny surely will impose, stuck as the kittens are on their halted journey out, all five siblings sentenced  to their mother’s inauspicious fate, lest Stuyvesant—witness to this drama’s dire unfolding—curbs mere fascination, overcomes inertia, and sheds his schoolboy doubts to actively intercede, put to the test his skill and his nerve and his curious compassion for a "dumb" animal whose suffering is so palpable he winces while hoisting the neighbor’s pet, cardboard box and all, transporting it from the backyard bushes to his basement’s ersatz clinic, scene of mended bird wings, super-glued turtle shells, and frogs with bandaged flippers, some operations successful, others... but the boy-next-door does try, as on this occasion, chloroforming the feline; mistrust abandoning eyes that blink a Morse-code gratitude en route to swift sedation... mercifully inured to her brutal labor’s throb... to her abdomen’s fur being shorn by an appropriated razor... to the swab of disinfectant that anoints her bloated gut... to the deftly plied Exacto-knife slitting an incision marvelously delicate for a teenage surgeon high on self-reliance, mental fortitude, and the wherewithal to help, to relieve torment, to deliver of the hapless calico her constipated litter, each born alive, intact, nuzzling her whose wound is subsequently sutured, needle and thread adroitly (if atypically) employed to complete the operation
—which earns the young practitioner an inglorious false arrest.

Why this incident is significant Nana cannot say, as she pads off toward her studio, to a work-in-progress mounted on a pedestal and draped by a swathe of silk, the shape implying a bust, its head and shoulders on a level with their half-clad creator.

Whether spawned by normal means or manufactured, humans share a need to understand their parentage, grand parentage, great grand parentage, ad infinitum. People, universally, crave to trace their roots—flattered, fascinated, or scandalized to discover noblemen, artists, or scoundrels, the search itself as important as results when tracing the family tree. Nana, in this regard, is no exception—though her investigation is fuelled by questions extraordinary:

  • Is she one of a kind?

  • How, precisely, was she made?

  • Are certain traits transmissible?

  • Given her 'anomaly,' could she reproduce herself?

Queries on the Web have turned up leads—from Intersex Societies to Health-Related sites, from porn to online freak shows—yet nowhere has she encountered an anatomy quite like hers—analogous to a flower that botanists classify "perfect," meaning equipped with functional pistil and stamens self-contained.

Thus Stuyvesant Fink is not devoid of compassion; such is Nana’s deduction, based on this singular act. Men of science typically treat specimens appallingly, which is not to say the youngster, once leaving high school, behaved any differently. Kindness early on, though, is a mitigating factor—Nana predisposed to admiring, if at all possible, him who gave her life. ‘Doctor Frankenstein, I presume?’ is a greeting she often imagines (hoping neither he nor she deserves the appellation ‘Monster').

Slipping off its coverlet, Nana regards her work, which is indeed a bust (head and shoulders) of a seminal human being, details indeterminate, masculine in dimension, its oil clay features vague and predicated at this stage upon intuition solely—though destined (with further reports) to grow more and more defined... which is not to say "naturalistic"... Nana Wolffmüller’s art more often than not is "surrealistic"... "figuratively figurative," a critic once wrote in Arts Anonymous (after viewing Nana’s sculptures on exhibit in a small but prestigious Copenhagen gallery). Nuance is her passion, coupled with explicitness; "borderline pornographic" are her sado-masochistic themes—this current work-in-progress a possible point of departure.

Nana stares intently where she intends to locate eyeballs, sockets already pressed into the malleable plasticine, adumbrated shadows forecasting the character of him whose soul she would invoke, whose mind she seeks to fathom, whose motives she endeavors to expose perchance to glean.

Pinch by pinch, from a glob of body-warmed material to a nondescript armature of light-weight polystyrene, Nana’s dexterous fingers apply and smooth, layer upon layer, apply and smooth, until the chunky surface acquires recognizable shape and form, rudimentary cheekbones appearing first, apply and smooth, beneath them jowls, apply and smooth, above are depressions already sunken to accommodate  eyes framed by a pair of temples, apply and smooth, ears on either side, apply and smooth, one completely rendered, the other one indistinct, each additional lump and dent suggestive of a skull-supported structure, be it brow, nose, lip, or chin, apply and smooth, every press and smear endowing the exterior with attributes of skin.

Mounted on a circular base that rotates, the sculpture seems deficient. Turning it, Nana regards it from behind. Typical of busts, the back holds little interest. Due to a flash of inspiration, this fault will be overcome.







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