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Body Parts and Crits

This week I have been planning, installing and getting critique towards an installation/sculpture piece I have been planning for. Ideas around human, cannibalist slaughterhouses have continued to fill my mind and research, fueling imagery of body parts.

I decided to test out working with a recognisable bodily object, which is something I have been avoiding due to not wishing to get anatomically specific and to maintain a general ambigious (especially between what is human and animal), meaty, and abject atmosphere. Although I find the best way to rule something out totally and set the mind at ease is to just dive in and experiment with these ideas. So for my installation work, I began creating eyeball sculptures, roughly the same size as human eyes and with the colours and general qualities of them. Eyes are reguluarly seen as very unique and precious parts of the body, 'windows to the soul' and all that jazz, overly romanticized, personal and unique. For this reason, they are seen as very human, even though the vast majority of animals own a couple. If you've ever looked into an animals eyes, it almost comes to have human qualities, you begin to empathise for it. But that is besides the point. Due to our preciousness over eyeballs, which are ultimately just tools for recieving sensory information and don't make us individuals, I thought that they could be used to allude to human body parts, whilst still being somewhat ambiguous, to maybe draw away from animal sympathising ideas around my art.

Towards the installation piece, I also made a larger sculptural object from super sculpey oven-bake clay molded over a shaped-and-cut-into polystyrene block, hung by a chain. I enjoyed the ambiguity of this piece, the strange fleshy qualities, somewhere between abject and surreal, the industrial abertoire feelings from the thick chain built into the object, the marks and prints left in the surface. Almost edible but repulsive.

When it came to installing the crit piece, I used the two pieces of work previously mentioned, as well as playing around with liquid filled latex tubes that had been used in previous work. I don't want to completely leave these out of my work due to their grossness and strange wobbly qualities that work so well. I also included a silkclay experiment, which looked like dangling intestines. To finish it off, I placed some red painted card cut out like a cartoon-style *SPLAT!*. I wanted to test the comical side of the work, which I haven't pushed out very far yet. I'm waying up whether or not this is a good idea or not.

Althought I was happy with the install, I was worried that it was a bit thrown together and that I hadn't thought too much about the relationship between the objects, with their somewhat constrasting qualities and different ways of portraying disgarded insides.

In the actual crit session itself, a lot of the feedback confirmed my worries about the comical and the abject clashing rather than working together to make a well-rounded piece. When later having a discussion with a tutor, I realised that it was almost unnecessary to pursue this idea of the comical as my ideas around the absurd and questioning our very existance is close to comedy in a surreal and dark way, although this is a certain type of humour that not everyone will understand, I do not need to try and make other people find the comedy in the work, it may just take a certain person to find it or no one at all. The oddness of existence itself is a strange comedy/tragedy. So maybe it is best to go back on my research and go over the true absurdity of living in it's most basic and strange form. Concentrate on this weird balance and ambiguity between seductive and repulsive, where cannibalism almost becomes fetishised. How this is strange in itself but who cares because it is insignificant!

I also found from the crit, that the most successful part of the work was the super sculpey clay object, which they found intreging because of its ambiguity, it's bodily but alien qualities. Moving forward, I would like to create another sculptural/installation style piece but only using pieces similiar to this, repeated over and over, with differing shapes. This repeative meatiness, pointless and blank.


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