Marc Swanson


This installation, called Killing Moon #3—self-portrait of a yeti in his lair, was proposed and made specifically for the boiler room at P.S.1 and for the Greater New York show. In November 2004 I was able to tour P.S.1 and figure out what space I would propose to do an installation in. I had wanted to do a series of myself as a yeti, and as soon as I saw the boiler room, I knew this would have to be where he would live. The boiler room is such a special space, and you just can't beat the natural light coming in from the sidewalk skylights.

The photo shows me unwrapping my yeti sculpture about midway through the weeklong installation. It was all very dark and cold at first but now I have come to feel very at home in the P.S.1 boiler room. Most items in the installation aside from the yeti are made from trash and debris found between my apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and P.S.1 in Long Island City (about a half an hour's walk). I spent close to every night for weeks combing the streets in the mind-set of the yeti to find the materials needed for the installation. The yeti figure has casts of my hands, feet, and face, and the body is sculpted from measurements of my body in the pose you see.

I had to think as the yeti to make his lair—what he would make, and what would make him tick. I wanted to make objects from materials found on the street, ritual objects that the yeti would use to make sense of the world.

It was hard to work out, because if the yeti creates the objects, they are ritual; if I make them, they are fine art. After a while the lines began to blur, and I realized that I was the yeti and the yeti was me, so the object became both an object of ritual as well as art. And in turn the whole installation became a self-portrait—not just the figure of the yeti. This was a real breakthrough for me.