Untitled (Silencer redone)
2015, Print & Video loop
Untitled (Silencer Redone) presents sexed bodies in an unusual and interesting way, with an endless line of alternating male and female bodies that actively cover the chest and groin area of their sex counterpart. The models look straight forward with little expression, ridding the performance of emotional engagement in a way that suggests it is a mechanical or perfunctory act of minimal consideration. Indeed, subjectivities are generally formed without much conscious awareness. In this piece, the pair are caught in a cycle of ‘othering’, whereby one covers the sexed parts of the other while being simultaneously covered in equal measure. This simple representation refers to the tenet that the two sexes cannot exist except in contrast to one another. In this work, the opposition of the signifiers inscribed on each subject (through bodily difference) constructs the bipolar system through which each is made visible. Therefore, it is inevitable that the concealment of one’s most overtly sex-based bodily differences (chest and groin) would lead to the dissolution of the other’s socially-recognisable presence. Rather than being intrinsically situated, this piece asserts that sex is actually a conceptually constructed way of being identified.
Self-Made (Two Boxes) 2015, Mixed Media, 40x30x18cm each
Two lit white boxes with glass tops lie adjacent on the floor. In the glass cover, each features a silhouetted image - one of a male figure and one of a female. Each figure sits on a stool in an empty space, holding a pencil to their body, evidently in the process of sketching out the details of their body. However, only the chest and genitalia are drawn, and the rest of the bodies remain white and featureless. Initially it appears that each person’s act of drawing the self into existence is the result of individualised agency for self-production. However, with only the basic sexed features drawn, a disconnect arises between the individual and its supposed agency. It is as though the person is limited in how they can become visible - the features are predetermined, and any act of self-creation requires adherence to these. The inspiration of this piece comes from post-structuralist response to feminist metaphysics, whereby theorists (namely Judith Butler) counter ontological claims by the latter who argue that sex precedes gender since it is intrinsic and therefore not constructed. Butler contends that the ‘materiality of the body [is] achieved through the performativity of gender’. In other words, sex as a distinguishing category is meaningless without gender; bodily variations materialise and are given significance through gender embodiment. So, while the individuals appear to creating themselves, they are in fact recreating themselves within the parameters set by heteronormative constructions. Furthermore, their positioning (on a stool in an empty space) suggests that they invite, perhaps even unconsciously, the gaze of others. Just as their sex identities are not complete until recognised and validated from the outside, the piece itself is not complete in its meaning until the viewer interprets it. Accordingly, this work seeks to underline the perpetuation of sexing the body through the appropriation of the process itself.