The poster of the Mona Lisa painting by Botero is hanged on the entrance of my apartment. It was a gift from a cousin, who had very kindly taken me to the Modern Museum of Art in Bogota, Colombia to look at a photography exhibition. It took me two years to mount the poster on board and three more years to finally make the instagram project.
My original idea was to quote Duchamp by drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa and hang it on my wall. All of these years, I kept contemplating about the type of mustache I wanted on this version of the Mona Lisa. For whatever reason, I didn’t want to draw the same mustache Duchamp drew. I remember thinking that Ohr’s crazy over the top mustache was perfect, after we looked at his work in a history of modern design class.
The mustache has been a trend for years now. I can’t remember when it came into mainstream. When did we suddenly start putting a mustache on everything? When did it also become funny for people to sport a fake mustache at parties? A quick google search tells me that men started to wear a mustache in the Victorian time as distasteful and it a trend that comes and goes. The mustache now is used more as a funny symbol we put on everything. Who doesn’t like a coffee mug with a mustache on it? There are, of course, guys who grow all sources of mustaches and there are clubs and there are events. I’m not sure if this is a new phenomena or if the mustache came back with vengeance in the 21st century.
My intentions are really different than Duchamp’s commentary on art back in 1919. But in a way, I have to thank Duchamp and many artists before me that believe art is not static, but always evolving with time. My project doesn’t have this direct goal or trying to change anything. My project is an escape from my every day job. I wanted to do a piece with humor. Ever since the day I saw Boteros’ Mona Lisa, I thought that all it was missing was a mustache to complete the piece (I’m sure Botero does not agree with me). Finally I had the idea to use instagram to play with different mustaches and just see how people reacted.
The actual poster continues to be free of a mustache. Maybe it will take me a couple of years until I can decide on one looks. I’ll keep everyone posted.