Flesh is an extraordinary material. Whether we come across it in art, in film, in the media or in the form of meat in the supermarket: we are constantly confronted with organic material consisting of muscle, fat and connective tissue, sometimes in processed and refined form, often as a cultural production, or the occasional object of abuse.
Between the poles of still life tradition and memento mori, cadaver and the living body, aesthetically produced morals and violent mania, dark phantasmagoria and shrill enthrallment, flesh has become the pivotal icon of modernity. In spite of its omnipresence and omnirepresentation, our discussion of flesh remains a social taboo. It’s time to confront this taboo.
Contemporary art represents reality and serves as a means of confronting the here and now, the past and future, appearance and reality. Innumerous artists have addressed the aesthetic, social and ethical issues of the body and its ephemeral materiality. The positions represented by the sculptures, paintings, drawings, photography, performance and video art chosen for this exhibit vacillate between fascination and provocation in their treatment of the organic substance flesh as a living and vivid material, as a formally aesthetic motif and means of expression of existential orientation, as a symbol of catharsis and topos for aggression, vitality, death and preservation, as an allegory for a libidinous and indulgent will and as a metaphor of transience and metamorphosis.
ORLAN is one of the 35 artists of the exhibition Carnal Desire.
Until 21 February 2016
Museum Villa Rot
Schlossweg 2 D-88483 Burgrieden-Rot, Germany
To explore an in-depth academic account of ORLAN's pioneering art in its entirety, find her book ORLAN: A Hybrid Body of Artworks on Unbound.