Carlos Martiel and Karina Vahitova, Immaterial.org, August 31, 2014
For his performance “Punto de Fuga” (“Vanishing Point”), performance artist Carlos Martiel referenced Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” (circa 1490). This drawing was regarded as the symbol for symmetry of the human body, which Da Vinci believed to be an analogy for the function of the universe. By interpreting the drawing with his own body, Martiel challenged the Western cultural notion frequently seen in art history that the caucasian man is the center around which contemporary society revolves. The performance reflected on multiculturalism in history, specifically on periods of time in which Westerners have invaded other cultures of the world.
For the performance, a prestigious Italian doctor, Alberto del Genio, spent five hours sewing 88 black wool yarns (brought to Italy from South America) into Martiel’s body. When the doctor was finished, the artist stood in the center of the main hall of the Nitsch Museum in between two walls specially built for the performance. A group of 12 assistants tightened the wool threads attached to Martiel and tied them to the walls. The threads sewed to Martiel’s back all followed the same direction to a single point on the wall. The threads extending from his torso expanded in many directions, creating the illusion that he was being pierced by a vanishing point. Martiel remained standing for two hours.