Sophie Nys — Bow Chucko Wow Wow


Installation, photography, sculpture

Sophie Nys
Bow Chucko Wow Wow

Past: March 16 → April 28, 2012

The work by Sophie Nys is often oriented around historical sources in relation with a certain contemporary link.

For the exhibition Bow Chucko Wow Wow Nys worked around a photo of 1915 she bought in New York one day after workers from the Police Department evacuated persons and property from the privately owned public space known as Zucotti Park or OWS (Occupy Wall Street) on the 15th of November last year.

The photo depicts a display of an old water pipe which was found during the excavations for the metro stop of this same Wall Street and which became the base for the show.

Monica Tuymans: What took your attention on what was displayed on the old picture?
Sophie Nys: First of all somehow the absurdity of a dull trunk installed on a horse which seemed important enough to register as a significative artifact at the beginning of last century. The way the picture was formally taken attracted also my interest since it shows clearly its subject. The central object as a subject is something I like to see in relation with the stone as a pure thing, and the thing as a work of art, which are very close to each other. So the stone-like presentation and it’s obvious historical content amongst other aspects made me buy this image from a stall in Soho.

MT: You decided to make a real size sculpture based on this water pipe.

SN: Yes, the attraction to this image is of course not only its own historical reference but clearly also a formal one. After some research on the matter the imaginary and mechanics of water pipes (or mains) look somehow like the archeology of sexuality. The objects touch in a grotesque way virility and this is difficult to disconnect with previous projects I developed around shame poles, volcanoes or important philosophers.

But, next to this possible formal associations or interpretations the sculpture represents, I am actually more interested and puzzled about the political developments in the united states (and other parts in the world) and I see the wooden shaft as a monument for the park where the peaceful occupation was cleaned out in a very harsh way. The authorities gave the command to evacuate Zuccotti Park cowardly during the night and destroyed hereby also The People’s Library. A library that consisted out of more than 5000 titles donated by people who supported the project since its erection in the financial district of New York City in September 2011.

MT: “Where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people also”? 1

SN: Well, history and news learn us that governments who destroy books aren’t the most democratic and trustful governments and it frightened me that this happened so close where I was that very moment.

MT: You seem to touch power-related issues regularly in your work.

SN: Somehow, yes, the power of archeology, sexuality, politics, … form and — inevitably — the power of the art market.

MT: Is the title Bow Chucko Wow Wow related with any market or power?

SN: Bow Chucko Wow Wow is used today as an expression of sexually oriented desire but originally comes from the striking guitar theme of the soundtrack by Isaac Hayes for the film ’Shaft’ by Gordon Park in 1971. This wah-pedal effect became a sound brand for erotical films and was later known as the soundtrack du jour of porn, the adult ’entertainment industry’ with an annual turnover of a billion dollars.

1 quotation by Heinrich Heine, German poet (1797–1856).

  • Sophie Nys — Bow Chucka Wow Wow Opening Thursday, March 15, 2012 6 PM → 9 PM
Emmanuel Hervé Gallery Gallery
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6, rue Jouye-Rouve

75020 Paris

T. 09 51 10 96 58


Opening hours

Wednesday – Saturday, 2 PM – 7 PM
Other times by appointment

The artist

  • Sophie Nys