Kenyan, b. 1972
Shavasana I, 2019
6 ft. 11 in. x 53 in. x 9 1/2 in. (210.8 x 134.6 x 24.1 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery
Photo by David Regen
The women in Shavasana I and II are shrouded by mats instead of lying on top of them. Brightly colored high heels hang off of their feet, askew. The works’ titles are from the Sanskrit word for the final pose at the end of a yoga practice, when the practitioner is able to lie flat on their back and release all of the energy they have produced in their previous poses. It is a posture of complete surrender and release, and the only movement involved is breathing. In this work, however, Mutu also taps into the more disturbing connotations of savasana’s literal translation: corpse pose.