Janine Antoni

Umbilical, 2000

Cast sterling silver of family silverware and negative impressions of artist’s mouth and mother’s hand

8 x 3 x 3 inches (20.32 x 7.62 x 7.62 cm)

Photographed by John Bessler

Umbilical examines on the relationship between the mother’s body and that of the child. The silver spoon is an object that speaks of domesticity, ritualization and the fetishization of a tool used for a basic need.The cast of the inside of Antoni’s adult mouth is at the bowl end of the spoon; at the handle end is the space inside her mother’s hand as she holds it. The work traces the trajectory from body to home. As Antoni says, “I began to think that at first I fed from my mother’s body, then from her hand, and now she would like to pass down the utensils to feed others.”