I belong to you, you belong to me, 2007
Ink, paint, mixed media, plant material
and plastic pearls on Mylar
Collection Victoria and Warren Miro, London
Copyright the Artist
Erato [detail], 2001-2002
steel, X-Rays, lead, glass
Courtesy studio Wim Delvoye, Belgium
|Visceral Bodies presents the work of contemporary artists who investigate
the human form, tracing artistic responses to scientific and medical innovations
over the past two decades. Presented in conjunction with Leonardo da Vinci: The
Mechanics of Man, the two exhibitions trace the considerable history of artists using
the body as a subject of physiological and anatomical study. The contemporary artists
included in Visceral Bodies underscore how cultural perceptions of the human body
have shifted from an anatomical fact to a perpetually evolving and increasingly
artificial or fragmented form.
The exhibition begins with representative works by artists such as Shelagh Keeley and Kiki Smith who approach the body as a symbolic object and create evocative and tactile representations of the human form. These artists are concerned with creating encounters that encourage the viewer to negotiate the political, emotional and gendered meanings of the human body. The exhibition continues with works that draw on advances in medical technologies and the biological sciences to construct new ways of representing the body. Artists such as Gabriel de la Mora, Wim Delvoye, Valie Export and Mona Hatoum borrow the tools of medical imaging to exteriorize what is internal. The exhibition also presents work by artists who imagine a fantastical future where the body has become fragmented and mutated.
Many of the works in Visceral Bodies comment on issues of identity, pathology and normality. Refuting the modernist image of science as an unquestioned source of progress, Visceral Bodies presents a variety of reflections on how the human form can be understood and represented, especially given the ambiguities and provocations of the genetic age.
Visceral Bodies is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and presented with the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad. Curated by Daina Augaitis, chief curator, associate director.