I started to think of old connotations of the space and how it was previously an old club; and instantly thought about the mass of people that have previously passed though the space and began to wonder what bodily fluids has touched its surface, i.e. urine, syliva. My work has previously referenced or suggested the body, using materials that have bodily qualities that somehow reference a contained decay of some sort. This work where I am walking whilst urinating onto canvas is questioning whether the body is requires a presence or absence, the action or trace or both? Over the next few weeks I will continuously urinate on canvas where I am placing myself in a vulnerable situation creating layer upon layer of my bodily fluid. My body has never been used as a material in my previous work however I’m interested in using my body as a reference point; thinking about the intentions and the limits of my body as a material.
The first urination over the canvas I found it incredibly strange and unconventional, wearing a black dress I walked slowly across the length of the canvas urinating in a very controlled and slow manner. The urine was warm, and running down the inside of my legs; the sound of the urine hitting and forming puddles on the surface of the canvas was unnerving. After discussing the work with Josh and James, what was interesting is how gender was the forefront of discussion; when using the body you can’t avoid gender politics. What came up in our conversation was how this work forms the basis of taking back control of my body, and my choice to blur those boundaries and urinate in a public setting as a female conflicting that orthodox male behaviour. It’s interesting how I am walking along the canvas, boldly urinating with no shame but this is currently taking place in the space when it is only me present; therefore I question how the work will be read and perceived by an audience present. What I need to consider and develop is how I set up the work; where in relation to the space does the canvas take its place. This is where I question whether the work is a focus on the action or the trace of the artist? Will the work result in both? It’s a question as to whether I will document the action and therefore the traces of the action will be visible or whether I perform the action?
Both images reference the action and trace but I’m interested in documenting the action over a period of a month, creating visible traces, line, and action of my bodily fluid. There’s an interesting contrast of yellow, brown stains sitting and seeping slowly, the urine absorbing into the fibres of the canvas where visible footprint marks suggest my movement. This work remains on-going yet unresolved; therefore there will be a continuation of questioning my presence as the artist and material.
Coming into this residency after such an intense year on the MFA I wanted to allow myself to revisit and re-evaluate my practice. The Cellar instantly reminded me of my previous work when I drew focus to serial killers and what their victims had to endure. I began working with concrete and organic materials such as bone, human hair and blood with an emphasis on casting objects repetitively. This space has an intense atmosphere, the red walls has this seductive yet grimy aesthetic. After spending the last three days down in this secluded, open yet intimate space I have found my research and material choices drastically changing and referring back to my interest in using the body as point of contact for material choice. During the course of the six weeks my aim is to collect bodily substances such as human hair, nail clippings, saliva and urinating onto a large sheet of canvas, building up layer after layer of urine; I’m curious to see the colouring and stains that this procedure will uncover. This does raise the question of whether this is a performative action or purely documentation. Should this work be performed or does the action become relevant to the work or is it purely about the line, marks, colour and layers of the urine that is created on the canvas?
I then began to think about the internal body; flesh, guts, fat and how materials such as wax, latex, rubber have an instant fleshy appearance. My use of jelly in my previous work drew attention to the resemblance of bodily fluids; puss, semen, urine, blood. The time I have spent in the space has led my research into reading about the serial killer Ed Gain and current artists I have drawn influence from are Carol Rama, Joseph Cornell, Louise Bourgeois, Daiga Grantina, Sarah Lucas, Ivana Basic, Karla Black and Joseph Beuys. I began thinking of medical equipment and materials; petri dishes, test tubes and surgical tubing are objects I’ve previously worked with and was drawn to that clinical aesthetic. However what was ironic was the clear view to the pipe lines and barrels in the cellar that resemble veins, or some kind of food supply that has endless connections and feed supplies. I started to think about body parts and how I could respond to this therefore I’ve decided to cast my nipples in wax creating multiples. What’s interesting is the choice of material and how it transforms from a liquid to a solid from soft to hard.
I’m drawing focus to the idea of responding to the space and how its aesthetic has a very slutty appearance. There is this question of whether the space procures jarring domestic and industrial qualities? I’m bringing into focus organic substances and the idea of the body and food/the body and consumption. I’m particularly interested in this idea of an action, as if there’s something happening , a transition where the viewer becomes apart of the work where you’ll want to touch, feel, smell the material. This is merely a starting point, a point of contact on how I can respond to the space whilst engaging with new and familiar materials.