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There has been a sudden shift in my practice this week in relation to exploring performance and new organic materials. I’ve realised how the body and form is crucial and is the core to my making and material process. After studying the nylon tights forms, the artist Hans Bellmer came to mind and his study of the anatomy of the body and this portrayal through his dolls, drawings and photography. Instantly I saw a resemblance in our work, the scale of the sculptural works was a specific area of interest. Bellmer’s dolls were childlike and of child proportion; why was this? This question was raised with the tights forms. Is there a connection? My initial thought was to play on the innocence of children against the aggressive and sexual nature and tendency of the work. After researching and reading further on Bellmer’s practice, a clear link is associated between our relationship with materials and the incorporation of objects and sculptural elements or materials to produce the work.

Hans Bellmer

Hans Bellmer

The use of the organic materials becomes a challenging aspect to explore and to understand their qualities. Bellmer’s dolls are somewhat sexual toys for his personal gratification, however do or could become a fetish for male and/or female viewers. Looking back to when I was working with the bread dough, the qualities of the material; the fleshiness quality of touch and the colour instantly became a portrayal of fat. I began to think, what else could I use that has a similar quality? Lard, it is a solid mass of fat. However, its texture after touch becomes soft and eventually will melt. I wish to explore these qualities using my own body; rubbing this pure block of fat over my own skin and fat. How will I document this? Do I film the performance? Do I only use still photography? I’m curious to explore the qualities of the lard and a personal relationship with my materials by using the body.

The foam works that I was exploring last term have recently been cast in bronze and again have an instant organic and raw feel about them. The form and texture of the cast is alluring, the qualities of the foam have been captured and frozen in bronze. Instantly I see a connection and resemblance to Bellmer’s dolls, the bulging and emphasis of the fat and tension on the skin. The form has an organic and phallic nature; it resembles a piece of meat or a lump of flesh.

Cast bronze form in its raw state.