This final piece displays a contrast between two materials that both have a connotation towards skin. The piece as a whole was inspired by the anatomical differences between male, female and intersex. The main focus for my sculpture was the piece of skin that intersex females are born with, it prevents penetration as it is stretched over the opening of the vagina and wideing tools plus reconstruction are used to rectify it. I began to focus on this specific part as I personally saw a beauty within it, it’s a piece of skin that shows no mercy and is a small barrier between what is male and what is female. When creating this piece, I wanted to depict the natural flexibility of it therefore I chose a material that would naturally mould a shape but yet be able to be interacted with by the public. I wanted the sculptures to be confrontational in a way by suggesting there is beauty in something that medical establishments and society want to erase and control. The fact that without context the audience where unable to guess what my work was about was unintentional but something I encouraged. I wanted them to build a relationship with my piece, whether that be by touching it, smelling it or taking photos with it they are building a relationship with something that society find repulsive and “unnatural.” They are also unintentionally disagreeing with medical establishments who regard it as an abnormality, which in turn therefore feel they have a right to poke and prod to remove.
The inspiration for my art work came from many artsists, the concept for my art was mainly derived from Egon Shiele paintings, I found the raw portrayal of sexuality intense yet aesthetically pleasing I also found the paintings to be very expressive something that I don’t really engage with in paintings. For the actual sculptural aspect of it I was inspired by the artist Maria Bartuszova, I felt that her work depicted the balance between freedom and confinement her actual work was made through the use of pouring plaster into moulds then moulding them however her works looked like they had been made freely.
Overall I was pleased with the outcome of my work however I would like to make changes, I would have made them so that they didn’t need the background material possibly a similar style to Helen Chadwick’s “Piss Flowers.” I would also try to make them on a bigger scale so that they can be interacted with to a larger degree, I would possibly even consider hanging them from ceilings so that the audience would be able to weave in and out of them to encourage a strong physical relationship between artwork and piece. Despite the changes I would like to make I am still pleased with the outcome that I will use as my starting point for my summative piece.
I began to look into the medical aspects of being intersex and what it means to be born with some “characteristics that dont neatly fit into the normal spectrum of human sexual development”
Being intersex is not always an immediate alert in regards to not always having ambiguous genetalia leading to some people feeling confused and ashamed of an invisible difference.
However an artificial puberty is induced and encorouged by medical establishments through the use of tools such as a vaginal spreader which is used to widen vaginas to let sex be had at ease, also from a young age an injection of steady hormones is used to create periods however an alternative to this would be androgen blockers. Breast augmentation will also be offered in an attempt to enforce the idea that something needs to be changed/fixed so that you must identify between two gender identities.
In week one i began to look into the idea of being intersex as this would be the starting point for my art work, i began to look into the idea of intersex in the anatomical sense and the way in which intersex genitalia do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies” they are in sense a completely new type that must be analysed and treated at a completely difficult angle which spurred on one of the aspects that i want my artwork to accentuate which is; interesex people are not a new species or a new breed or a hybrid which is to be poked and prodded at by doctors and surgeons, intersex people are also human and as a society we should not feel that we have the need or the authority to force them to define themselves as either male or female or alter their bodies without justification as in theory there is no medical threats that being intersex produce. We should appreciate and have an accepting and open minded view in the beauty of not physically defining as either one or the other.
My piece is based on the coming together of science and art. I worked around the concept of depicting a disease in relation to the human body. I incorporate the idea of our own impending mortality through the use of fragile and exposed material which is snake skin.
My initial idea began with looking at the characteristics of snake skin itself, I was interested in the exposed nature of the skin. Each piece is brittle and raw every piece displays a pattern of scales and a texture that is rough to touch but easy to break. I looked in detail at the relation between snake skin and human skin and began to look into how similar to a snake we grow and “rebirth” ourselves every seven years when all our cells replenish. I began to move on from the skin itself and looked into what happens under it, I did a great deal of research on how as we age the skin is the first tell tale sign to what’s happening in our bodies below the surface. I began to look into how oxygen cells begin to get slower and over time our skin becomes tired and frail our antibodies begin to slow down and overall we begin to die.
After looking into cells I began relating my piece to a snake, what cells do we have as humans that snakes don’t? or have little of? I took an interest in fat cells however my piece began to drift into the bracket of preserving death or even becoming a piece that celebrates life and its fragility. Cells under a microscope is something that I find interesting and also beautiful I began to look into osteoporosis which is also known as the silent killer. I find the disease as a whole so captivating, bones as a whole are dense and strong but as we age they become brittle and this deteriation is something I decided I would display.
I then began to look into the nature of viruses and their chaotic nature in comparison to the structure of osteoporosis. The chaotic positioning of the skin relates to the “hairy” nature of a virus. I found it important to make the piece “3d” the pile of skin on the floor indicates our growth and also incorporates a morbid element to the piece, each piece emphasises the idea that after leaving the safety of the womb every breath we take we are closer to death.
Overall I am pleased with the final outcome of a displayed virus however I would have hoped to display the aesthetics of a virus more efficiently by perhaps incresing the amount of snake skin used to over lap each other and become more 3d. I appreciate the subtlety of the piece but am undecided in whether the piece is too subtle. Is the piece displayed in such a way that mimics the beauty of the structure under a microscope or does the piece display snake skin as a material. On the other hand, the subjective aspect mimics life in regards to our own individual journey.