Series of seven photographic sculptures (unique pieces), photographs and sundry objects, sewn, mounted on wood, 260×150×12 - 16 cm (4 works), 130×100×12 cm (3 works), 2014
Devout Fleshes finds its origins in work on the human body as sculpted, and photographically reinterpreted by me. For years I photographed life-size statues with classical features and of mystic, even religious, look. Perusing late-nineteenth-century medical encyclopaedias, it became obvious to me that human tissues and organs, flesh-coloured and drawn with the precision and fineness typical of scientists, were to be applied to the cold bodies of those statues.
In this work I found that I could not do without plastic volume to balance out the heavy mass of the statues’ bodies and their reductive photographic rendering. This puts the work squarely into place like a totem in space. Using the techniques of sewing and embroidery, familiar to me since childhood, I assembled fragments of reality into a fiction, this fiction in turn taking upon itself very reality, very life. Those stone or bronze statues get enriched with a human story that weaves its way along the threads, the pins and the needles – anchoring points for a terrestrial chronicle.
Devout Fleshes is a work rich in multiple meanings and underpinned by political views – political in its etymological meaning of citizen, from the Greek ?????????.
In it I concern myself with the sacred, down to its most humanistic roots. Taking the religious, I displace and divert it towards the terrestrial and the organic. But, far from censoring the nobility of the credo, I extend its validity to the realms of matter and volumes. The series’ characters are confronted with an alternative possibility, with a human and individual dimension of faith.
The figurative depiction shows mystic, even religious poses – in stone. But it is nonetheless from this inorganic nature that the human and its entrails are born and overflow. These sculptures, draped in irony and adorned with ordinary, familiar accessories, bring the sacred back to bear in the dailiness of life. Thus the sacred, loaded with reality and its objects, asserts its presence in each parcel of those bodies, both human and inorganic as they are.
Hybrid totems, conducive to universal reflection about the finiteness of man and the eternal unknown.