Monday, August 9, 2010

Abject Art

The other morning I was having one of those epiphany mornings... As soon as I got up and hopped into the shower ideas for my thesis just started blubbling and as soon as I got out of the shower I grabbed my sketchbook and started sketching. Since my ceramics course as the beginning of the summer I had been trying to figure out how to mesh food/sex/fertility through ceramics and painting into my thesis. I also don't know if I mentioned but I started working at a vegetarian/vegan restaurant and have had food issues on the brain a lot. The other day my boss was actually telling me about this video showing coke being poured on pork develops maggots within an hour - not something i really want to eat... I would post it but it's really disgusting so I figure I'll just let you youtube it if you really want to see it... So my vision as of now (this will for sure grow and change as I work 40+ hours a week in my school studio) is an installation of a surreal world inhabited by creatures/humans that embody the phrase "You are what you eat". I'm imagining overwhelming colours and smells - and visuals that are both erotic and disgusting. Sharon Alward, my painting prof from last year had actually brought it to my attention that she thought my work was resembling abject art. She sent me a little blurb from the Tate glossary that I've decided to share because it does a better job of explaining it that I can...

The abject is a complex psychological, philosophical and linguistic concept developed by Julia Kristeva in her 1980 book Powers of Horror. She was partly influenced by the earlier ideas of the French writer, thinker and dissident Surrealist, Georges Bataille. It can be said very simply that the abject consists of those elements, particularly of the body, that transgress and threaten our sense of cleanliness and propriety. Kristeva herself commented 'refuse and corpses show me what I permanently thrust aside in order to live'. In practice the abject covers all the bodily functions, or aspects of the body, that are deemed impure or inappropriate for public display or discussion. The abject has a strong feminist context, in that female bodily functions in particular are 'abjected' by a patriarchal social order. In the 1980s and 1990s many artists became aware of this theory and reflected it in their work. In 1993 the Whitney Museum, New York, staged an exhibition titled Abject Art: Repulsion and Desire in American Art, which gave the term a wider currency in art. Cindy Sherman is seen as a key contributor to the abject in art, as well as many others including Louise Bourgeois, Helen Chadwick, Paul McCarthy, Gilbert & George, Robert Gober, Carolee Schneemann, Kiki Smith and Jake and Dinos Chapman.

Louise Bourgeois

Paul McCarthy

It's probably strange that these things make me excited... The thought of this installation gives me butterflies in my stomach - I can't wait to get started!

On another note I forgot to post these when I took the photos but our Students of Fine Arts (SOFA) tshirts are in! They are currently crashing at my place so if anoyone's interested in purchasing let me know! They're $15 each and the money will go towards helping U of M's fine arts students go on gallery trips to different cities, studying with established artists, and supplies and equipment to make art!

Rodeo girl design by Lisa Jorgenson

Katie and Kaja modelling Rodeo Girl by Lisa Jorgenson and SOFA logo by Sarah Paradis

French Fry Monster by Dany Pickeret

Katie and Leslie modeling Dany's French Fry MOnster

My Eggs design

Leslie and Kaja modeling my Eggs design

Cat with Monacle by Kara Passey

Katie and Kaja modeling Kara's cat

Also! Knit night has started up again! After a hiatus due to the end of school year being crazy the knit night group has gotten together again and is sharing needles every monday night! My camera currently isn't working but as soon as I can steal someone's for the knit I'll have photos of our new members and new projects! I'm working on a yellow cowl on circular needles right now... Anyways I hope everyones well and evjoying the last month of summer!

1 comment:

  1. The first illustration shows a sculpture by Keith Edmier, not Louise Bourgeois.