Mike Bouchet’s Carpe Denim (Rear View Mirror) presents work from his ongoing Carpe Denim series, which first began in 1997. In their most recent iteration, the works on view here focus on the backside of jeans re-presented at an exaggerated scale. This view of the rear emphasizes the loop pattern stitching commonly placed on jean back pockets, which seems to mimic and exaggerate the buttocks it’s intended to encase. Seen at this scale and in repetition, Bouchet prods at the persistent presence and evolving symbolism of the once humble pair of jeans.
Bouchet’s interest in the language of consumer production has long informed his work, and the Carpe Denim pieces are a distillation of this embedded vocabulary and its ramifications. By appropriating a quintessential American product, along with manifest advertising and conceptual strategies, Bouchet ratchets up the level of prurience implied in the original and magnifies the true locus of denim’s promise.