Although Trockel is known for utilizing a diverse range of sometimes unorthodox media, drawing is the format she consistently uses to explore her key themes of personal identity and public symbolism. This untitled work, like most of her graphic artworks, is figurative, a classic portrait head shown in profile—although her treatment of the subject is anything but classical. In contrast to Trockel's sculptures, which are designed by her but executed by machine, this work seems to bear out the historical assumption that drawing is the most direct form of expression for an artist. As in a child's finger painting, the exaggerated form reveals every mark, and the artist’s interaction with ink and paper becomes as much the subject of the work as its anonymous model.
Trockel's artwork often deals with the effects of societal norms on women and the idea of "women’s work," but it is hard not to see this figure, with its long, pointy nose, as male. This leads to a variety of questions: Is he the innocent storybook character Pinocchio, whose nose grows longer the more he lies? Or is he more sinister, offering something grotesque and vaguely sexual? The artist gives no hints, but her emphasis on her own creative process makes clear who, ultimately, is in control.
Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 129.