My installations propose a translation of the sensorial and psychological conditions of the body into an abject presence. Crafting my artworks out of wax, my work suggests veins and arteries while the degradation and fragility of the material reflects the inevitable end of our existence and the impermanence of life.
The visceral deformation of the body allows us to physically feel our own presence and connection to our human sensations: we are more than the physical, we all own an interior state of being. By moulding globular forms to translate the fragility of our mental state I aim to evoke self-reflection into our own internal sensations and feelings of being confined to flesh and bone.
Bloody bundles found in streets of Brazil during the time when South America was under terrorism. These pieces were installed in many places across the city to address the political issues of loved ones going missing and being killed due to terrorist attacks. All of these visceral sculptures were named “Situation” even though there was more than one bundle installed around the Brazillian streets. Bario made the public confront his artwork as if they were pieces of actual dead bodies which raised awareness of the situation Brazil was in. Barrio endangered his life by emptying these bundles onto the streets while the public was present to elevate the publics’ awareness of these brutal terrorist attacks.
The way in which Barrio has installed his work to enhance the publics’ views on the savage way people were being treated is similar to the way in which I wish to install my tumours. In places within the building you don’t expect to see works of art to enhance the viewers own sensations of their bodies.
I found this rusty bone structure from a bed in a skip and I thought I could use it for my final piece for my degree show. Artist have used the symbol of bed many times in different ways. I wish to tackle this object in a similar way to which I tackled the domestic object of the pillow. The bed holds a very personal connection with me as I have relied on it many times to block out my problems and to hide from the world. The bed is somewhere you go when you feel fragile, unwell and tired, it is a place you can trust to comfort and protect you. The bed is a place of sanctity, a place to make love, a place to die. The bed is a symbol of home and is a safe haven for everyone. With this bed, it is cold and uninviting that’s what attracted me to it. Using this bed within my work will allow me to tackle the ideas of how we can be engulfed my our beds during fragile moments in our lives. People have become victims of their beds relying them for comfort during depression and other issues, however the bed can become your cage holding you captive. This idea of our trust broken by the bed and it is is causing pain to our bodies I feel will connect to many people as several people have had negative experiences where they have been bed ridden. The bed has become the predator and you are its prey holding you down. Quite painful experiences occur within the bed but overall I want to express the bed as a cage of depression holding the fragile body captive.
I went to Bristol on a trip with my peers to see the Bristol museum Death Exhibition. I however seemed to be drawn towards the mineral section of the museum. Looking at crystals that have been formed thousands of years ago naturally around the world fascinated me in a way it has never did before. In seeing the many structures of these minerals made me think of cellular growth within our own bodies. There was something so beautiful about them and how they were structured all uniquely. I feel the globular structures of some of the minerals have inspired me to structure the globular forms I have been developing within my practice. There was something about these minerals and crystals that reminded me of tumours the body can create. The abnormal cell growth of the body making something deadly and unusual is like those minerals that were found in caves and rocks, odd and unusual looking.
In my work I have been tackling the figure in relation to expressing the fragility of the human form and the sensations of being bound to your own mortal flesh. Through revaluation I feel that I do not need the figure structure to create this statement. The figure does imply it is human however I don’t feel it is necessary to express the fragility of mankind. The figure structure restricts me as an artist to develop the true sensations and internal mental states we all seem to suffer from. Within my work the figurative form gives the expression of the outer, physical body, this I feel personally is too literal to express sensation of the body and limits the audience to seeing another person rather than feeling themselves within the piece fully. I feel that my approach towards my degree show my work will be more globular in structure, containing the skills I have gained through using wax on different materials and developing my professional skills with the wax to create the sensation of flesh.
In my sculptures I have built a range of skills to create certain textures of skin. This I feel will benefit me when I create my final degree show piece. These textures were built from playing and experimenting with not only wax but the surface the wax is applied to e.g. hessian sacking or thin translucent nylon.
In my previous piece the hanging body there was elements of the skin which I made bruised and cracked under the surface of the nylon. The dark purples and cracks within the skin is inspired from my grandad’s skin when he was in hospital. The way in which his skin created this galaxy of colours beneath the surface was to be so beautiful but brutal and painful. I really feel that I captured the painful quality of his skin after his operation and its fragile nature in some but not all areas of the hanging body piece.
I wanted to create a bodily form hung, helpless within my space to see if it would be an effective way to illustrate the mortal body and the sensations from within it. In making this figure, unlike the figure I made previously this year I was less precious with the application of materials to create the surface and structural form of the body. By using hessian sacking, skin coloured Nylon and bedding in this piece allowed me to build a less structured body form. The fight with these materials was interesting as it was a challenge to apply the wax in such a way for these materials to absorb it. The wax didn’t absorb into the hessian sacking making the texture of dried skin and the nylon did absorb the wax however when moving the nylon after the wax dried left cracks and vein like textures within the surface. I really feel that this figurative piece is stronger than my previous one as in being less structured, I allowed myself to enter into a mental state of destruction rather than caring so much about the outcome, the process became just as important in the development as the outcome. When all the wax dried onto the body I took a hammer and brutally attacked the body form making the wax crack and even fall off in areas. This cathartic ritual of purging onto the body allowed me to release built up anger and frustration onto the surface of the piece. I feel that it hanging is effective as it looks like a piece of meat that has been through so much pain and slaughter. However, I feel that I have made a piece that is too literal and too obvious to purely express the sensation of the body alone without it becoming a brutal murderous act.
The soft stuffed body ‘looks like a stylized piece of dog poo’ (Strum 2012, p.169) with legs sticking out. The body twisted into itself in such a way in front of a mirror may be a reflection of the artist’s bodily experiences of looking at oneself and feeling like excrement. This bodily rejection of faeces may symbolise the rejection she witnessed and underwent in her childhood and early adulthood (Nixon 2005, p.45-50). Another reasoning behind the body’s shape however may be the body becoming the mental state of the artist as the body twists and tries to detangle or contort itself into these soft tubes of intense feelings. By hanging the body Bourgeois restricts the body’s movement to a single point forcing it to view its own reflection, she says ‘A hanging thing is very helpless’ (Bourgeois in Nixon 2005, p.240). The hanging body is made helpless and unable to escape, in being fixed in front of this large mirror reflecting on this mental state the artist may have found herself in.
Louise Bourgeois imbues her own visual representations of existential experiences, such as suffering, being trapped, needing protection, tenderness, loneliness, sociability and the freedom of unleashed fantasy, with the justification of aesthetic evidence (Crone 2011, p.109).
By placing mirrors within many of the cells Bourgeois emphasises on cellular growth, through mitosis these cells divide sometimes uncontrollably like cancer causing hazardous effects (Strum 2012, p.173), like the intensity of emotions and anxieties growing uncontrollably within the mind. By creating her existential experiences within the visual communication of installation we can visually experience the artist’s sensations of being trapped within oneself and relate to our memories. Unlocking the valves of sensation (Geldzahler in Arya 2012, p.56) with us we can locate internal feelings and anxieties in seeing them being projected in the forms of Cells.
This installation is so powerful and captivating that some of my own work has been inspired and still will be inspired by this piece. It has made me think also about my presentation of my work within my degree show and if I want to have a piece hanging. In hanging a sculptural form, it may add a vulnerability to it, this is something I am really intrigued to explore within my own artistic practice.
“The Pillows” is a very personal piece for me as it holds the intimate act of releasing energy like the scream into the domestic object. The fleshy and visceral insides are a representation of the negative energy being forced out of the body and making an imprint onto the pillow and penetrating it to create these wounds onto the surface. I decided to change the environment this piece was originally made for as it allowed me to not only see the it in a new context but see the public’s reaction to them. I took pictures of them within the natural setting of the park next to living and dead trees. I was really fascinated in the way in which the pillows interacted visually in the branches and cracks of the trees. The branches piercing the pillows really felt to me as if the branches were part of the circulatory system and the pillows were a clot in their function.