Ashkan Honarvar , Taken from the “MEAT Series” project
Louise Bourgeois, Hung Piece, 1968
Ashkan Honarvar from “the Meat Project”
Photo with 11 notes
Jindřich Štyrský, collage, 1934 (Colour version of this)
High Boy Jessica Harrison
From the artist - To Cut, To Construct: The Transplantation of Surface Within a Sculptural Practice:
Surface is our primary place of encounter, whether it is by touch, taste, vision, hearing or smell. We perceive and are perceived through our surfaces, the body existing as not just a thing, but as a permanent condition of experience both facilitating and interrupting our understanding of the world. It is from this phenomenological basis that my research begins, exploring the significance of the body within sculptural practice, the role our surfaces and sensations play in our experience and perception and their function as a connection/division between an interior and an exterior.
Skin has a dual nature, existing simultaneously as both interior and exterior, a tool of perception and a place of self-perception. Like no other part of the body, skin serves as both representation of the whole and that which conceals it, giving it that double quality of the organic and the imaginary described by psychoanalyst Didier Anzieu. This fluctuating idea of the body’s surface describes the reflexive nature of sensation and perception and forms the basis of my practice-based research into the body and its transplantations. Through hybridised forms in sculpture and video, I am attempting to unpick this reflexive quality in our surfaces of interior and exterior, the known and the unknown to explore the significance of the body within art as both ‘interpretational constraint and enabling condition for the construction of meaning’ (Tilley: 2004). Hybridity and transplantation are useful tools in this research as immediately speak of a blurring of boundaries, and a notion of difference prompting reflexive reactions of seduction / repulsion, attraction / anxiety.
Like skin, the hybrid form is necessarily dualistic, the basis being that separate elements can be recognised individually and combined in the imagination. Unless at least two distinct parts are perceived, the form cannot be considered as hybrid, therefore it can be said the hybridity resides outside the form, and within the observer.
If hybridity is a condition of the perceiving body, contained by or possibly located on our skin, what does this mean for the boundaries of the body? Our skin has always held significance as the location of our sensations and perception, as the boundary between our interior and exterior, but does its transplantation transgress this boundary, to become, like our perception of bodily self, a projection of the bodily surface?
A psychological construct as well as a surface entity and a highly cathected organ in its own right, skin is an organ of contact, protection, vulnerability and power. Through its removal and transplantation, we can physically alter our own boundaries, and psychologically push our perceptions of self. Skin is widely considered an external entity, yet it turns inwards to line our orifices, can grow over foreign objects, sheds itself on a daily basis and absorbs and emits our surrounding atmosphere. My work and research explores these multiple layers between an inside and an outside, and the idea of our surface as something that is reflexive, malleable, changing location, expanding and contracting, that when cut and displaced, can fundamentally affect the perception of our own body, boundaries, and the world we exist in.
Captive in our bodies (as interpretational constraint), the visual and conceptual power of hybrid forms over an audience is strong, hinting at things once unnatural and natural, strange yet also familiar. By mirroring the tools of our sensation and transplanting our ‘islands of perception’ (Benthien: 2002), the work is questioning a presumed rigidity of skin/surface through the unfamiliar presentation of the familiar. If our knowledge is formed through the body and its surfaces, rooted in a sense of touch, what happens when those component parts of the body are broken down, dispersed, multiplied and collaged? The surface of the body is everywhere a potential exit, and similarly an entrance, susceptible to sensory experience over its entire surface. The work is an exploratory step into puncturing and manipulating this surface, a violent fragmentation through hybridity where tokens of our boundaries (mouth, teeth, tongue, eye, finger) are scattered as remnants of a fragile division.
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