On 10, Jan 2013 | In Sculpture | By admin
It Is My Body
What happens to the body of the artist in the aftermath of the performance?
This query is at the core of the sculptures, videos and photographs of Marta Jovanovic. Much has been said about the difficulty of preserving performance, an ephemeral medium that resists being transformed into a lasting and permanent form. But what about the performer’s body? Can it be suspended in time forever? Can we prevent its aging and ultimate decay, or delay its inevitable mortality?
Jovanovic creates a silicone doll that doubles as an image of herself, an identical replica of the artist from head to toe. At first glance, this phantasmagoria, a soulless object, appears beautiful; however, upon closer inspection, it becomes slightly repellent, looking more like a funerary corpse than an immortal replication of the artist. As such, its disintegration becomes imminent. The surrogate doll cannot be sustained as an autonomous entity. Jovanovic’s plaster casts, videos and photographs pose a paradox. How can one’s living body be dismembered and at the same time long for eternity?
The fragmented cast pieces evoke surgical intervention and cosmetic surgery, but in this case, instead of beautifying the body, the process seems to have created a grotesque physical appearance through silicone and plaster casts.
Jovanovic’s casts and photographs are the remains of a body that is no longer present; all that is left are the indexical traces and marks of the real. The work emphasizes the gap between performance and its subsequent representation. The disembodied parts are also reminiscent of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel self-portrait in the sagging skin of San Bartolomeo, who was martyred by being skinned alive. They exist to remind us of the transience of the human body.
Within the frame of work presented in the exhibition It Is My Body, Marta Jovanovic is exploring the concept of durability in performance as an artistic form; where the artist’s body is often the basic material from which pieces emerge. Plaster casts and the artist’s silicone replica ironically reflect human aspiration towards material duration. Throughout history artists have attempted to create an eternal human form.This process is here converted into the simplified production of a replica of the whole body as well as its constituent parts. By this procedure Jovanovic is shifting the nature of the artistic act towards the testimonial function of the witness, archiving traces of reality and building a simulacrum of appearance.