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Marie-Jo Lafontaine «Les larmes d'acier» | Les larmes d'acier (front view)
Marie-Jo Lafontaine, «Les larmes d'acier», 1987
Les larmes d'acier (front view) | Photograph: Schmitt, Bernhard | © Marie-Jo Lafontaine

Marie-Jo Lafontaine «Les larmes d'acier» | Les larmes d'acier (front view)Marie-Jo Lafontaine «Les larmes d'acier» | Les Larmes d'Acier (side view)Marie-Jo Lafontaine «Les larmes d'acier» | play video
Karlsruhe | Germany | 7.3*4.2*1.8 m (W*H*D) | 6-Kanal-Video-, 2-Kanal-Audioinstallation, 27 Monitore, 6 Laserdisks in 6 Playern, Holzstruktur. | Music: Bellini's »Casta Diva«, gesungen von Maria Callas | Archive / Collection: ZKM, Karlsruhe | 6-channel-videoinstallation; 2-channel-audioinstallation

 Marie-Jo Lafontaine
«Les larmes d'acier»

The monumental, video sculpture «Les larmes d'acier» (Tears of Steel) consists of 27 monitors, 6 laser discs, and 6 laser-disc players, installed in a piece of black box architecture. Seen running in perfect synch on all the monitors are various images of athletic young men in the act of training their muscles. With their pronounced physiognomy and builds, they embody the type of muscle man considered a clone. The camera pans slowly over their faces, and unabashedly documents the conquering spirit taken to the limit in this struggle with one’s own body. The gym equipment emphasizes the character of the martyrdom that each man has chosen to bear—man and machine become one. With carefully chosen motifs, Marie-Jo Lafontaine continues the exploration of contradictions in Western culture, which stretches throughout her entire work as the dual portrait of Eros and Thanatos, violence and passion, power and pain, beauty and terror. The images are accompanied by Bellini’s «Casta Diva» sung by Maria Callas, which also endows the artwork with a highly charged presence and urgency.