“In Memory of Sadat” was the first of his new series. He inserted his body into two steel boxes placed an eighth of an inch apart. The only visible body parts were one forearm and hand, which extended along the top of one box, and one shin and foot, which extended along the top of the other box. (“I labored over it for months working out the exact proportions.”)
Ray began to believe that the relationship of the viewer to his piece was more important than the image itself. Using a real body gave the piece “a present-ness, an event-ness, a reality,” he said.
Charles Ray is a Los Angeles-based sculptor. He is known for his strange and enigmatic sculptures that draw the viewer’s perceptual judgments into question in jarring and unexpected ways. Christopher Knight in the Los Angels Times wrote that Ray’s “career as an artist…is easily among the most important of the last twenty years.”