© Dennis Oppenheim
November 1969, printed 2013
Ground Mutations – Shoe Prints
Dennis Oppenheim, American, 1938–2011
Dennis Oppenheim, American, 1938–2011

Ground Mutations – Shoe Prints, November 1969, printed 2013

Black-and-white and color photographs and text on two panels
each: 152.4 × 101.6 cm (60 × 40 in.)
overall: 152.4 × 203.2 cm (60 × 80 in.)
Gift of the Dennis Oppenheim Estate
During the performance that preceded this mixed-media work, Oppenheim wore a pair of shoes with quarter-inch diagonal grooves as he traveled between Kearney, located in New Jersey's swampy, polluted Meadowlands, and New York City, photographing the distinctive traces his footprints left behind. Here, Oppenheim's body and camera were his media as much as the earth. "Impressions" such as those depicted in Ground Mutations were of keen interest to the artist, insofar as they represented the transposition of one thing–the sole of a shoe, for example, or a scene outdoors–onto the surface of another thing, whether soil or light-sensitive paper. Like many of the artists in New Jersey as Non-Site, Oppenheim was enamored with New Jersey and with the experience of shuttling between the state and other locations, especially New York.