Your Wives are at Home Having Sex with Bart Simpson and Burt Reynolds, 2017
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“Your Wives are At Home” satirises historical equestrian portraiture of aristocratic and military dignitaries. The horselike figure ridden by Fitzpatrick’s protagonist reveals itself as a pile of rubble attached to a unicorn head. Although the character appears to have no arms, he carries a large rock on his back, which he is unable to remove, potentially suggesting burdens.
Exaggerated features are typical of Fitzpatrick’s work: in this instance, both the man’s lips and legs are overgrown. His full-bodied, sensual lips hint to attributes not commonly associated with triumphal portraiture, while his legs appear unusable much like his non-existent arm and the horse he rides. Indeed, the horse, rock, and large features appear to create a sense of absurdity.
The title “Your Wives are at Home Having Sex with Bart Simpson and Burt Reynolds” is a quote from Jon Ronson’s book, The Men Who Stare at Goats. The book, based on a real story, suggests that during the First Gulf War, the Iraqi army dropped psychologically manipulative leaflets carrying this sentence on US troops. Through investigating events within a historical period, the book, and later movie, reconstruct the past through a well-researched story.
Jamie Fitzpatrick believes abstraction (or fiction) is a crucial way of critiquing current society while enabling those ideas to continue to transcend through time. The satirised monument is typical of Fitzpatrick’s work, seen as undermining the way in which power is distributed within a patriarchal society. The artist believes military statues begin to lose their significance as the relevance of the figure begins to disintegrate. Thus, the statues which “looks down” on passersby, once highlighted someone’s “military monarchical class” but has become one of the “signifiers placed around the city that have lost all sort of historical context”, as Fitzpatrick notes. The artist admires the way in which Charles Dickens is able to make characters within authoritative roles appear ludicrous until the underlying politically motivated message becomes apparent.