My sculpture is based on skin however I incorporate the idea of human condition and the way in which the human body functions. Skin itself contains the human body and is an organ that paradoxically displays the highest level of vulnerability. My initial idea began with looking at the aesthetic beauty of skin through the use of the material snake skin. I began to make prints that displayed an equilibrium of beauty and fragility.
I began to look at the fleshy elements of skin such as skin tags, sagging skin, warts and sun spots that naturally occur in the process of aging. The research from this contrasted the vulnerability of skin in regards to skin being the first tell tale sign of aging. I began to think of the strength of the human body. I decided that I would like my sculpture to display elements of human nature such as the digestive system, childbirth and the grotesque fleshy nature of sexual intercourse.
I became inspired by Simon Bedwells sculpture structure. I enjoyed the delicate design in contrast to the harsh material. I also admired the depiction of the material clay stripped back to its natural state. The sculptures display and element of deflation and display a strong depiction of clay being derived from living matter which is a element that I have attempted to display in my final piece.
The ambiguous component of my piece links to human life itself and the complicated nature of living whilst noting an honest and pure depiction of the human anatomy structure. The limb like appearance combined with the over lapping of each section notes not only the similarities between beauty and horror but also the similarity to each individual human body/ being. Subsequently; the link between human body and experience obsessively conjoin to display an element of “Vibrant matter” in regards to the idea that the piece displays an element of life whilst the lived in nature of tights aids the representation of the decaying nature of life itself.
The sculpture itself displays the idea of rhythm in chaos. The piece itself is big and confrontational and links to the idea of nakedness which corresponds with a possible purity about the piece. The neutral tones of the piece are used to not only display an element of realism but also to link to the neutral aspect of benign tumours. The mass like aesthetic allows room for conceptual interpretation, resulting in a contrast of pessimist and optimistic views.
Overall I am please with the final outcome, I think that the nature of concealment is driven by society to conduct low esteems that result in negative views on natural life aspects. An example of this is porn being used to mask the crude nature of sex. I attempted to illustrate the beauty of our bodily functions in the sculpture by emphasising the element of afterthought. I attempted this through simplicity of material and ambiguous and vague design. I am happy with the piece and feel that it radiates an element of beauty whilst challenging viewers embedded pessimist views that have been branded with via society. However, I do feel that I could have made my sculpture bigger and possibly added an element of interaction to include the viewer more into my piece.
My initial idea was concerned with displaying a beauty about skin, I became interested in displaying skin and skin diseases in a light that displayed them as aesthetically inviting. I began to look into conditions such as osteoporosis and used snake skin to illuminate the fragile and delicate nature of it. I used snake skin as it was aesthetically fragile yet paradoxically robust. I also wanted to incorporate its human like characteristics such as how our human cells regernate every seven years as we grow a snake sheds it skin to create a whole new barrier that is skin to protect it from the world.
I began to notice that I was conforming to society’s idea of perfection. Aesthetics is something that we have been taught to perfect and have been given tools to conceal anything on our bodies that does not conform to society’s standards. Therefore, I began to look into grotesque body functions that can be displayed with feelings that we may denote as beautiful. For example, the idea of feeling full is caused by the grotesque function of digestion which involves the unpleasant organ of the intestines. I wanted to remove the act of concealment that skin creates, it contains all organs and its opaque nature allows us to be naieve about what goes on inside leading to the disgust we face when we see vomit or feaces.
My idea began to change in relation to society expectations I wanted to make skin transparent so that the viewer could see the beauty in what goes on underneath. Could possibly go so far to say I wanted to find beauty in things that are deemed as grotesque by society but are actually a necessity for the things in life we find beautiful such as the birth of a child.
Whilst adding layers i began to note a repetitive pattern of knots that began forming within my sculpture. I began to notice a similarities between the knots and the aesthetic of an umbilical cord. The overall sculpture illuminates the idea of life so felt that this aesthetic fitted well and began to incorporate it in each new layer i added.
The natural crease that lies within tights added to the purity and innocence of the piece possibly even the element of birth. I began to see these creases in relation to the idea of stretched vaginal walls and birth canals. These are all elements that i will like to include in my final piece, therefore i will consider adding some unstuffed tights to heighten the idea of skin stretching to form and allow new life to enter.
I began to look into the idea of muscle contraction as skin itself acts as a container, its durable and flexible nature is designed to conceal, contain and mask our bodily fluids and overall bodily functions. The skin paradoxically is the first tell tale sign of foreign internal body concerns such as the idea as cancerous tumour lumps whilst also simultanesouly being the container that allows it to thrive.
Furthering the internal approach to the body i began to look into muscle restrictions and contractions such as a further examination into female menstrual cramping, and child birth. I also wanted to look into the digestive process and raise the question of why we find things that come out of our bodies such as excrement to grotesque? is this due to the pure and naive outlook that our skins opaque nature has protected us from?
The strength of the body, the mutations that it undergoes are all concealed by the film layer that we call skin, i want my piece to delve deeper into the body itself unapologetically, unconcealed. I want my work to remove the innocence and beauty of the body that skin has allowed us to naively consume and accept. The aesthetic that skin has created around the body is false it is a natural shield that we passively accept but i intend for my piece to depict it is a container to what goes on inside the body not skin becoming the end product of human anatomy.