BECOMING A SCULPTURE
Through my performative work “Becoming a Sculpture,” I am reconciling the experience of living in a female body with the history of sculpture. I engage art historical themes rooted in classical Greek and Roman works of antiquity, as I reexamine poses through the exploration of my body as sculpture.
The central focus is a re-performance of the Crouching Venus, a Hellenistic model of Aphrodite at her bath, originally created over 1800 years ago. I seek to occupy the space of its form, to hold its pose, embody its posture, and enact its stance. I sit low with my legs drawn up tightly beneath me. Stooping close to the ground, my arms reach across my body as my neck cranes to look over my right shoulder. My fallible body is attempting to fit an “idealized” form.
Through the process of directly pulling plaster molds off my skin, I am making a fossil. The molds capture the performance of that moment, the trace of a living thing engaging in restriction and endurance. I substitute porcelain, the material language of doll making I inherited from my maternal grandmother, for the canonical marble. Fragile porcelain skins are pulled from the molds while still soft. The stress of this transition shows up in cracks, abrasions, and occasionally the collapse of the surface. These forms shrink when fired and become a concentrated, vitreous version of my flesh. The work is hollow and perforated. Fractures and voids disrupt the conventional distinction between interior and exterior.
The making of an artwork is a performance, a way of testing the limitations of my body. To deteriorate is a reality. Permanence is an ideal. The fate of sculpture is ultimately to break. To break is the point. To empathize with the ancient is to identify with the fragment, to feel the pressure of entropy through an abbreviated form at which time has chipped away.