Shoba Venkatesh Ghosh

The Archeology of Representation: Steve Tomasula’s The Book of Portraiture

2013-12-01

Shoba Ghosh contends that in The Book of Portraiture, Steve Tomasula’s exploration of how artists in specific historic moments narrativize uncertainty in the constitution of the subject illuminates the conceptual framework that produces a number of significant global dynamics. According to Ghosh, Tomasula demonstrates that the contemporary subject’s body has become “no more than an agglomeration of brands” that can be “fashioned in the image of desire,” though at the same time, “desire also seeks to deterritorialize itself.” For Ghosh, Tomasula’s aesthetic treatment of that subject-defining tension ultimately assists in “track[ing] the loop by which Empire and Terrorism, State and Extremism, America and its ‘other’ produce each other simultaneously.”