Q is for Corporeal (Art, Sculpture)

| May 3, 2014

Artist Andrea Hasler made a meat tent and called it art.

The piece, titled Matriarch, actually references a 1981 anti-nuclear protest, the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, where 30,000 women camped out at a British air force base. It was probably the largest sustained women’s protest ever organized.

The artist has made a work that references the human anatomy – and I wondered if/how this resonates with the discourse of somaesthetics.

Hasler herself has this to say for the piece: It takes “the notion of the tents which were on site during the women’s peace camp as the container for emotions and [humanizes] these elements to create emotional surfaces.” Hmm…

Her work reminded me of other artists who use disfigured/disembodied anatomy as their aesthetic material.
See this Thai baker who uses bread as his expressive medium. Imagine eating this sculpture….
Here’s one of Cao Hui’s Gory, Dissected Sculptures. What does this say about the body? Does it make you rethink our relationship with bodies? I find there to be an unsettling ambiguity to this mode of aesthetic expression.

Jake and Dinos Chapman, “Great Deeds against the Dead,” (after an etching by Goya) uses this extreme imagery to depict the depravity of war.  He uses the visceral response of the viewer didactically to impart a moral obligation against violence.

Of course, if we look back to try to find early examples of corporeal gore in art, we can look to Hieronymous Bosch, who used these kinds of unsettling images to offer a warning about the hell that awaits those who transgress on earth. So, Bosch used this kind of gore as an instructive, persuasive tool, whereas I’m not so sure about the other examples.