Filtering by Category: flesh

sarah lucas

Added on by Jourdan.
Sarah Lucas
There's a blue porcelain toilet sitting on the side of the road... I keep passing it on my commute to/from school. I have an odd urge to use it for a sculpture... but it will probably be gone by the time I figure out something to do with it.



on genetic variety and the human body

Added on by Jourdan.
I picked up this book a while back at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia (one of my most favorite places ever) and have been totally engrossed with it for the past few days. It goes into the science of how weird things happen to certain people- why some folks are born with deformities, how some oddities develop over time... and does so with such an unassuming clarity. It's like one minute you're reading a fanciful storybook about some fascinating creature and the next minute you're looking through a microscope at malformed/mutated cells/genes in attempts to determine the cause of such conditions. Perhaps it will inform my work somehow...

 I can't get Asger Carlsen's manipulated photographs out of my mind...

I spent some time yesterday watching this movie (see below)... Freaks - made in 1932. Two people mentioned it to me in one day, so I figured it was a must-see. All the characters/actors are true circus "freaks." I hate using that word in that way...

of the flesh: gestation station

Added on by Jourdan.

An odd pre-existing fascination with all things flesh magnetically drew me to the dolls. Their naked pinkness piled high in the Toynado detritus just begging to be touched, but in the subtlest and most pitiful of ways. Dolls are meant to be played with. They are mini fake humans designed for imaginative interactions. But the dolls I discovered had been hidden away from sight for quite some time. Their dismembered limbs gathering dust in the corner – a morbid mass grave for playthings of the past.

In such a place as Elsewhere, a living museum, a breathing organ of objects always in flux, nothing, no matter how beaten and broken, deserves to be hidden away. My project has been a joint attempt to enliven both the dolls and the place in which I’ve chosen to install them – formerly known as the hotel lobby – an underutilized light-filled area on the 2nd floor at the front of the building. This space will now function as both lounge and creative work area, a space for gestation and growth of all kinds.

One of the many reasons I am so drawn to the flesh as both material and metaphor in my work is because of its regenerative qualities and capabilities. It serves as protector and barrier from outside dangers, as well as our primary sense organ, allowing us to feel and respond to the world around us. In this project, I have endeavored to work and play with the doll parts, the imitation flesh, to enliven it so that it may mimic human flesh not only in form, but also in manner, fostering growth of new projects and ideas.

The dolls have said goodbye to their old lives as objects and playthings. Their individual identities have been dissolved in attempt to further a collective consciousness, a collaborative ascension that is equally weird, hopeful, playful, and macabre. As their parts rearrange and flow in unexpected formations, viewers are encouraged to explore with child-like curiosity and discovery.



getting started - a proposal of sorts

Added on by Jourdan.
This photo was taken for my profile on the Elsewhere website. I couldn't resist this mountain of dolls hidden away in the attic.  

Yesterday I met with the Elsewhere curators to discuss my project proposal... it goes a little something like this...

The dolls are lonely. They’ve been in the dark far too long. I’ve come to rescue them from the toynado (see below) detritus and give their dismembered limbs a reason to live, a way to live. After all, this is a “living” museum, isn’t it? It’s time to bring the fleshy fake mini humans back into our living space. To turn their peachy plastic skin into an organ of interaction and discovery.

In addition to doll limbs, I’d also like to incorporate the truncated arms and legs of the mannequins I’ve seen laying around. Like dolls, mannequins are human stand-ins, but rather than objects of play, they are instruments of display.  

I plan to build an immersive and interactive space/structure out of the doll and mannequin parts that will function as both playground and work station. Who says work and play can’t co-exist? The parts will come together to comprise a fleshy mass, an ambiguous super doll-thing that responds to human touch. Hinges and pulley systems will facilitate motion and interactions, causing parts to wiggle and rise when poked and pulled in just the right places. Seating and a desk-like surface will be integrated into into the design, to encourage playful banter and brainstorming sessions for collaborators of all sorts.

Flesh is the human body’s largest, toughest, most sensitive organ. By it and through it we experience and respond to our surroundings. Using the inanimate doll flesh, I will create a new kind of organ: one that fosters play and the gestation of big wild and crazy ideas, in which nothing is too absurd. Organ and incubator.

For my work, this project is an attempt to integrate my immersive 3-D environments and my 2-D collages. Seeing the doll/mannequin parts as collage elements, I plan to construct a space that might resemble one of my collages, come to life. The viewer is an actor in the real-life collage/construction, pulling, poking, and prodding at odd (yet compelling) orifices and protrusions, evocative of human form. 

Kim Holleman - Toynado - 2007 - 8' x 5' x 10'

hans bellmer => asger carlsen

Added on by Jourdan.
After my first full day at Elsewhere (more on this kooky place soon), I'm starting to think about what I might like to work of during my 4 weeks here. Still not quite certain of where or how I'd like the work to function/live, but I know I want/need to work with mannequins and doll parts in some way shape or form. There are just SO many of them here it's irresistible. I've also got my eye on a box of ratty wigs. I'm thinking some sort of interactive 3-D collage (and by collage I mean sort of similar to the collages I've been doing recently). Hans Bellmer, of whom I am an enormous fan, immediately comes to mind when I think of mannequins turned sculpture... (though I actually prefer his drawings)

 
  Just now, as I was trolling through Bellmer images, I came across some photo work by Asger Carlsen, and all I can say is WHOA! His photo manipulations are wow wow wow wow...
 
Interview with Asger Carlsen from Glossom on Vimeo.

tower/plug

Added on by Jourdan.

I've completed my most recent endeavor - a tower of sorts. Earlier this semester, I built a similar sculpture that resulted in a charred studio and headaches for all. After much hesitation, I decided to re-build the piece (though it turned out quite different). This time I built a sturdier inner armature of steel (last time I used cardboard boxes) and eliminated the oil-based polyurethane thought to be the main culprit of the flash fire. This one is a real mash-up of textures and materials. Can you guess what all I used? 

Though it started out as more of a formal/material process driven piece, this sculpture has come to embody a lot of the concepts that have been driving my studio practice over the past few months. I've been reading some stuff by Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, and Georges Battaille - all dealing with kind of kooky psycho-sexual subject matter that could also potentially be read into my work. In this piece, there's definitely an aspect of desire... Rococo in style, cake-like in form - but the allusions to the body/flesh make it equally as yucky (pussy, oozy, etc.). So it exists somewhere in between. Desire and disgust. What interests me most is how these two distinctions don't/can't exist on their own. There's often something kind of disgusting about desire, right? Eating a cake this big would make anyone throw up on the spot. And vice versa... like squeezing a ripe and ready blemish... how something that's extremely disgusting by nature somehow elicits such an odd sense of satisfaction.

Another idea I'm thinking about in this piece is Lacan's theory of "lack" (or "manque" in French), which suggests that desire always arises out of lack.  I've not studied this material in depth, but I like where it is heading and think it's quite relevant in respect to my current body work. There are other things I could try to explain, but I think I'll stop stop here.





Materials include fiberglass insulation (pink and yellow), urethane spray foam ("great stuff"), balloons (white, clear, and pink), hot glue (of varying tones), caulk (of varying tones and textures), landscaping fabric, joint compound, string, water putty, silly string, and more!

This sculpture will spend the summer at Montpelier Art Center for their 31st Annual Invitational Sculpture Exhibition! The show opens on June 7th and will be up through mid-August. 

aziz+cucher

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Contradition is so much a part of this project. The inside is made of an exterior, the self is made an other, the outside becomes enmeshed within, and the body becomes enmeshed with its surroundings. Like an animal that can camouflage itself in its natural environment, the artists have described the Interiors  to be about a subject “incapable of demarcating the boundaries of its own body…[a subject] lost in the immensity that surrounds it”.
 From "Aziz + Cucher: Landscapes and Interiors" by Cay Sophie Rabinowitz



skin bag

Added on by Jourdan.

I need this shawl!! If only it didn't cost 900 euros! I guess I'll just have to make one for myself!


It's made out of a synthetic faux-skin material called SkinBag. This stuff is awesome! It comes in a variety of types... some made out of latex, some out of polyurethane, with wrinkles and/or veins, or without. You can buy it as a raw material or fashioned in a number of awesome/weird accessories (like the shawl pictured above). So cool!



dorota sadovska

Added on by Jourdan.
I just came across Dorota Sadovska's work this evening... and it is right up my alley! The image above is almost exactly what I've been thinking about doing recently (though rethinking it now) and the images below remind me of some of the paintings I was working on last year. I really love this lady's work... apparently she's a pretty big deal in Slovakia!




drooling over tim hawkinson

Added on by Jourdan.
Fruit, 2004
Ink-Jet Prints on Foam Core on Panel
I checked out an enormous pile of art books from the library today. I cracked open the one on Tim Hawkinson first and haven't put it down since. I'm a HUGE fan of this guy's work (as in, one of his drawings is the background of my computer screen, and has been for the past 2 years)... I've posted about him before... and I'm sure I'll be posting about him again. His work covers such a range of one amazing thing after another. Unrestrained by a particular media, his playfulness and fastidiousness are present in all he creates. I could blab about his work all day, but I'll get back to reading about it for now and instead leave you with these images, which are particularly relevant to some things I've been thinking about recently in my own work. So good. SO good. SO GOOD.
Untitled, 2003
Unique Photographs on Foamcore on Panel
5' 8"(H) x 9' 9"(W)
Totem, 2004
Unique Photographs on Foamcore on Board
10' 2"(H) x 3' 3"(W) x 2"(D)
Untitled, 2003
Unique Photographs on Foamcore on Panel
5' 8"(H) x 9' 9"(W)



layers of something

Added on by Jourdan.
In attempts to "loosen up" (as I've been advised to do), I ventured to create these small layered pieces. They were each made in one sitting, and the materials were chosen quickly and at random (though with regard to aesthetic). I've been looking/thinking a lot about the many layers of the flesh and likening them to the layers of the earth. While one is super microscopic and zoomed in, the other is zoomed out, and neither of which are typically seen with the naked eye. I'm interested in exploring this idea of scaleless-ness and how it relates to both our bodies and our environments - what's inside of our skin, as well as what's outside of it.

Now, in attempts to loosen up some more, I plan to continue working in a similar way, but straying away from the safety and comfort that I find in the cube/rectangle...


materials include: pink and yellow fiberglass insulation, pink foam insulation, urethane foam, polyurethane, hotglue, and landscaping fabric

ashkan honarvar

Added on by Jourdan.
These beautiful collages by Ashkan Honarvar remind me a lot of Wangechi Mutu's, but I think I may like these even better. His website is organized very nicely into distinct bodies of work that are definitely worth checking out. Some are a bit, ahem, "sexier" than others (yes, I can be a bit of a prude) but they're all quite striking and lovely. I particularly enjoy how he uses layering techniques to manipulate the human flesh and create new images that are gorgeously grotesque.

 "The saying goes that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. It occurs in places you least expect. Revealing its art in the human body, but also cruelly absent in the presence of deformations and scars, Ashkan Honarvar depicts an undeniable, unavoidable beauty by accepting the darker sides of human ‘nature’. The body, torn by acts of war, exploited by the sex industry or used as a tool for seeking identity, is the focal point of his work. This constitutes a search for a universal representation of the evil latent in every human, providing an opportunity for reflection. His aesthetic dissection has an intriguing macabre nature, which opens the images to interpretation." (from his website)     

more on wim delvoye

Added on by Jourdan.
I've always had a soft spot for some good (classy) potty humor... which naturally makes me a huge fan of Belgian artist, Wim Delvoye. The more I learn of his work, the more I fall in love with this guy. He has an incredible way with the subject matter that takes the yucky/gross/ew and turns it into beautiful/gasp/giggle! I'm particularly taken by his series of "anal kisses."

 Anal Kiss A 15 (left) and A11 (right), 1999
53 x 44 cm (framed)
lipstick on hotel stationery

Aren't they great?! I would LOVE to get my hands on a copy of this book - a collection of Delvoye's earliest work, completed between the ages of 3-6. I can only image what awesomeness it might contain. This is now at the top of my Christmas list!

This puzzle too! Oh boy... gotta have this! hahaha! 

drawing (droodling)

Added on by Jourdan.
3" x 8"
ink on paper

I'm onto some new-ish things in the studio. This drawing above is the start of something. It's primarily serving as one of many studies for some larger paintings I plan to do with polyurethane and oil paint... so we'll see about that! I've been looking at a lot of photos online of skin... all kinds of photos... but the really zoomed in ones of skin layers are by far the best. I found these at sciencephoto.com 



WOW!

rocks that wow

Added on by Jourdan.
I think it's time I learn some more about geology. It's more aesthetic than I ever realized.


Yesterday I spent some time with the rocks in DC's Natural History Museum. I've been to the museum twice since moving to DC, but for some reason the dinos and dead animals always seem to take precedence. My friend Julia and I ventured upstairs this time to catch a glimpse at the Hope Diamond (though I still don't know what's so great about it) and found ourselves amongst the most incredible rocks/minerals/crystals we'd ever seen. I could've spent ages in that room just ooh-ing and ahh-ing at all the gorgeous forms and colors. It's amazing to think that all these things have formed naturally over time. So outrageous. Seeing them all has given me lots to think about - especially concerning the idea of the "organic." I've always thought of rocks as being so stationary (contrary to my impression of the organic) but after seeing how they grow into such incredible forms, I can't help but consider them organisms themselves.



I saw a lot of things that reminded me of elements and materials used in my own work. For example, there's a striking resemblance between this lava rock and this "Folded Flesh" painting I did last year...