mona_lisa.jpg, 2005


from the press release:

In “mona_lisa.jpg”, Stephen Dent explores the cult-like phenomenon of the Mona Lisa through the use of images, text and sound appropriated from a wide range of internet based sources. Leonardo daVinci’s Mona Lisa is perhaps the most recognized art work in history. Is this because she is the greatest painting of all time, or because we as viewers have assigned so much meaning to her? Can she still be viewed as simply a “painting”, or have her mythological proportions overpowered how we look at her? Dent states, “She is the most popular holy relic of Western culture, housed in the Cathedral of Western culture and millions of people make the pilgrimage every year. What is most interesting to me is not the painting itself, but peoples’ response to and interaction with the painting.”

“mona_lisa.jpg” not only investigates how people look at the painting through the hundreds of vacation pictures presented, but also how the viewers describe the experience through the use of language as revealed in the various file naves assigned to their images. The investigation of language is echoed with a recording of Marcel Duchamp reading his notes. Duchamp’s connection to the Mona Lisa dates back to 1919, with his work L.H.O.O.Q.

Artist Statement: