From an unstoppable art car of dentures to an immovable wall of dentures we go, looking at a new art installation by feminist Indian artist Mithu Sen. Okay, so neither is truly unstoppable or immovable, but both are definitely unusual, and the art installation is even more so than the art car. Sen’s piece is an 80-foot long “barrier” of teeth, called “ Border Unseen ” that has been installed at Michigan State University.

Although some have called it the “great wall of teeth,” Border Unseen is a long, spindly structure that is a symbolic wall only, with a much greater resemblance to a pale pink snake that has a very prominent spinal ridge than to any wall used by humans. The piece wasn’t made up by taking actual dentures and merging them together. Instead, it was built of the same material as dentures, acrylic gums and teeth, but with a strange, melted quality, and the teeth placed in irregular, unnatural configurations. The sculpture is also littered with numerous small objects, such as tiny figures, fangs or spines, and even skulls.

“Common to All”

Sen admits that she also included some of her own blood in the sculpture, in order to “add a dimension of the organic to the overall materiality of [her] work.” She says she chose this material because she wants to use something that represents something that is “visceral and literal.” But she wants to go beyond that to represent the core humanity we all share, despite national and international schisms of class, caste, gender, and politics. She says of teeth, “They are common to all, regardless of racial, regional, gender, class, or caste-based differences.”

A Complex Range of Associations for Dentures

This is not Sen’s first work with dentures. She says that they have been important to her work for more than a decade because they have a wide range of associations that they can evoke powerfully in audiences of her work. Among the associations she attributes to dentures are:

  • Corporeality
  • Functionality
  • Sexuality, violence
  • Animalism
  • Desire
  • Fear
  • Pain
  • Satisfaction

Because of Sen’s diverse symbolism for dentures, it should come as no surprise that her work evokes a diverse response from her audience. But what we can all agree is that this is a singular work.

What Associations Do Your Dentures Have?

Although we can’t necessarily speak to all the connections Sen sees in dentures, we do see some of them in our patients. In particular, those that come to us with poorly fitting economy dentures often experience denture pain, and those that leave with better-fitting neuromuscular dentures are more likely to experience satisfaction with their dentures.

If you’re looking for denture satisfaction in Columbia, SC, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a Columbia, SC denture dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.