In Linus Borgo’s New York Solo Show, the Painter Reimagines His Origin Story

Thomas Page McBee, T Magazine, The T List, November 30, 2023

In 2014, the artist Linus Borgo was involved in an electrical accident that resulted in the amputation of his left hand. In the intervening years, Borgo became interested in forging an "imagined origin story," as he puts it - one that explored the "supernatural link" between two concurrent transformations: the accident and his resulting disability, and his coming out as a trans man. The work that emerged from that period comprises his New York solo show, "Monstrum," now on view at Yossi Milo in Manhattan. In Borgo's lush, often oceanic pieces, trans masculine bodies are depicted as mythical and divine. Among the artist's influences are painters of the Italian Renaissance, and his large-scale oil paintings and bronze sculptures are classically tinged. The works are also frequently autobiographical. In one painting, a trans Narcissus (Borgo) kneels before a puddle under a bleak highway overpass and sees a vibrant new world in his reflection. Mermen are of particular interest to Borgo who, at 10, drew up a bold plan: He would run away to the ocean, capture a shark, taxidermy it and then stitch it to his body, transforming himself into a merman. In "It's the End of the World as We Know It," (2022) a tattooed merman (Borgo) smokes languidly on a rock, starfish clinging to its sides. Starfish can regrow limbs, he notes, and "I rewrite my own history." 


"Monstrum" is on view from Nov. 30 through Jan. 20, 2024.