FROM HEAD TO TOE
“Why not walk on your head, sing with your sinuses, see through your skin, breathe with your belly (…)” 1
Who could embody the ideal body from anatomy books? Whose bones, muscles and tendons are those that want to speak an universal language? Through the pages I search without finding the singular body: the one with a slight disproportion, the meandering spine or the disordered fluids… In fact, the uniqueness of each body occupies and constitutes it completely: from the toe that grips the ground to the thinking head that lifts us off it. Let’s close the anatomy books. Deleuze and Guattari wondered some time ago how we could make ourselves a body without organs. Is it possible to undo the organization of the organism? The body without organs opens up the possibility of new reorganizations: listening with the eye, reasoning with the stomach. In order to become a body without organs, it is first necessary to understand the body as a process, and then to surrender to the three verbs that can guide us in that process: connect, conjugate, continue. In other words, “it is only there that the body without organs reveals itself for what it is: connection of desires, conjunction of flows, continuum of intensities.”2
The group exhibition “From Head To Toe”, which launches the new concept of L21 LAB in Son Castelló, is made up of these same desires, flows and intensities. Isolated organs search for and find each other in the exhibition room to form a single body in process. It is formed by a selection of recent works by Ben Edmunds (Norwich, 1994), Math Bass (New York, 1981), Marlena Kudlicka (Tomaszów Lubelski, 1973), Vera Mota (Porto, 1982), Rasmus Nilausen (Copenhague, 1980) and Gabriele Beveridge (Hong Kong, 1985).
Ben Edmunds uses an original pictorial language in which the body is merged with materials from adventure sports, such as carbon fibre, climbing straps and nautical ropes. In doing so, he tells the stories of a body tirelessly on the move and in contact with nature that is covered with, in his own words, “aspirational equipment” as if it were an exoskeleton. On the contrary, the two works by Math Bass in this exhibition could well be interpreted as a rehearsal of the resting body, at times an uneasy resting that is confronted with the limits of equilibrium. A posture in transit, strictly provisional, in which the visceral tension between movement and containment can be broken at any moment.
In Marlena Kudlicka’s complex sculptural compositions, the abstract body appears, approached from grammatical and mathematical formulae. As if measuring the level of enthusiasm in blood, they communicate information of an unknown reality in a seemingly enclosed algebraic language. At the same time, the structural space is left open in her sculptures: information travels through their negative space in the same way that brain impulses travel through synapses. Vera Mota’s sculpture “Untitled (Solid Emotions)”, whose organic forms resemble vertebrae emerging from the ground, is also composed of a lost space: that distance between elements that constitutes us. In her series of paintings “Sensation” this space is found through the movement that removes and rearranges the paint on the canvas surface, on which the artist performs a dance of abstract and spontaneous gesture.
Approaching painting from a completely different paradigm, Rasmus Nilausen’s canvases represent body fragments in their relationship to a wider material and symbolic reality. A pink, restless tongue, pierced by metal buckles, is transformed into a belt, – a perfect metaphor to describe the boundaries of language? In “Hand” the homo faber’s hand writhes incomplete in its bluish contours against a pale background… Lastly, Gabriele Beveridge invites us to an unusual vision of the female body in her photographic installations. In them, in addition to the face of an anonymous and timeless woman, which the artist extracts from magazines and advertisements, natural materials such as rocks, crystals or plant elements appear, completing the figure in fleeting representations.
“From Head To Toe” thus brings together bodies in movement and at rest, in transition and change, bodies made of negative space, of language and abstractions… In short, poetic bodies that overcome the anatomical ideals to deal with the singularity of the flesh and its representations.
1. Deleuze, Gilles y Félix Guattari. “¿Cómo hacerse un cuerpo sin órganos?” In: Mil Mesetas. Valencia: Pre-Textos, 2002. P. 165-157. (Thousand Plateaus, Spanish Edition).
2. Ibid. P. 166.
Esmeralda Gómez Galera