COMA is pleased to present The Plaintiff’s Third Face, a new body of work by Melbourne-based artist Nick Modrzewski, on view 9 July – 14 August, 2021 in the gallery.
Viewing modern day law and its associated practices through a theatrical and historical lens, The Plaintiff’s Third Face suggests that to exist in the legal system, a series of ‘faces’, disguises or masks must be worn. The presentation looks at how the law uses ‘masking’ to construct an elaborate fictional universe, populated by characters who are written into existence during legal disputes. Plaintiffs, defendants, debtors, creditors, judges and legislators all act their parts in both the real and imagined processes of law.
Drawing on historical and contemporary sources, Modrzewski unpacks how legal ideas travel through time and space. The rituals of law are performed across different artistic mediums: a public accusation is rendered in paint; a judgment is etched into an ancient scroll, and an arsenal of floppy sculptural weaponry is used to enforce a debt. One thing is for certain: to be visible in the eyes of the law, it is necessary to adorn one of its many masks.