Collection Online

Body language
from the Kiss of light series 1990

self adhesive plastic collage and enamel paint on plywood
152.4 × 121.8 cm
inscribed in fibre-tipped pen on reverse u.c.: David McDiarmid / "Body Language" / 1990
Accession Number
Australian Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1997
© David McDiarmid/Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Not on display
Physical description
A mosaic of reflective mylar plastic shapes, 'Body language' depicts a naked male figure with his back to the viewer. When lit, the mylar mosaic reflects the full colour spectrum in a dazzling display. The figure's hands spread his buttocks to reveal the anus depicted as a holographic winking eye. Inscribed on the figure's body are the names of friends and lovers of the artist who have died of AIDS related illnesses. The block-like head contains Swastika with each letter of the acronym AIDS situated in a separate quadrant of the symbol. The swastika refers, generally, to extreme political and social conservatism in the wake of the A IDS crisis, particularly with regards to funding for health and education programs.
David McDiarmid’s art moves between the categories of high and low, craft, fashion, pop culture and activism. Inscribed on the figure’s body in this work are the names of McDiarmid’s friends and lovers who had died of AIDS-related illnesses. The swastika on the head, incorporating each letter of the acronym AIDS, refers to extreme political and social conservatism in the wake of the AIDS crisis, particularly in regard to governments’ refusal to supply funding for health and education programs.