Body As Charged Canvas

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Body As Charged Canvas

Opening the Fall 2010 season with a dynamic group show, titled Mine, Invisible Exports features video and photographic works by three distinct artists for whom the physical body is canvas: Hannah Wilke, Jana Leo and Bob Flannagan. The pieces in this show were created during periods when producing work was inseparable from healing as an art form. Despite each artist's signature style, the curators selected for subtlety. "Rather than staging transgression as a form of extravagant melodrama, these works reveal real unwilled experience—intimate and personal, unscripted and undesired." Each artist in Mine presents the body's limitations in direct contact with limitless human transgression.

Benjamin Tischer, who co-curated the show with Risa Needleman, described the show as "essentially a portraiture show." Intensities of brutal circumstance — terminal illness, sexual assault — become personal vignettes of reclaiming one's indestructible spirit, despite emotional turmoil and temporality of the body. By showing acceptance and/or self-repossession through portraiture, masks are removed. Raw emotional potency is poetically expressed through methods that challenge expectations of therapy and transformation.

Bob Flanagan & Sheree Rose, "Wall of Pain", 1981-1992. Photographs and hypodermic needles, 132 x 168 in.

Bob Flannagan was many things: writer, poet, comedian, performance artist. From 18 months on, Flannagan spent his life in excruciating physical pain, in and out of hospitals. Expected to live until age 7, Flannagan was one of the longest survivors of cystic fibrosis, "fighting pain with pain" until his death at 43. To say he is disciplined is an understatement. His work fuses BDSM, illness, trauma, mortality, memory and sexuality. Although his work showcases the body in its performative function of pushing/recategorizing limits, Mine brings us close to his face, his eyes.

Comments [2]

SMBrown's picture

Wow, really interesting

Wow, really interesting work--though the backstory is certainly not for the faint of heart.  Thanks for putting this show on my radar screen.

patricia's picture

thanks for reading!

Glad you enjoyed reading about it. If you can, see the show and let's circle back on here if you want to discuss more.