Swimmers in the Lap Lane
- MaterialOil on canvas
- Dimensions99.1 x 129.5 cm
- On viewBasement floor
- CopyrightFrom the Collection of Dianne Wallace, New York © Nicole Eisenman. Courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art. Photo: Bryan Conley
More about the artwork
Nicole Eisenman regards “Swimmers in the Lap Lane” (1995) as one of her most important works from this period. In the painting, she succeeds in constructing a space of its own, one that functions contrary to spatial logic and is, perhaps precisely for this reason, so well suited to the depiction of sexual fantasies. Eisenman herself used to work as a lifeguard—this was before her coming out and in retrospect, she views the swimming pool as a place of refuge. She was fascinated by the weightlessness of the water and by the people in it, who—when in motion and almost naked—can appear as androgynous as they do here in the picture: it is bodies that matter, not biological sex.
The artist also draws a parallel between swimming and painting: “The figures overcome gravity. I like […] the way painting defies gravity; swimming gives us the same feeling.”