Two things in my life have thus far persisted: illness, and art. My Final Major Project at the RCA, Cunt and other essays, offers a short autobiography of womanhood, sex, sickness, disease, desire and death, written through body and sculpture.
These essays are exercises in staring. ‘Bad’ staring, at bodies, and ‘good’ staring, at art. Enacted simultaneously, incestuously intertwined, suddenly indistinguishable. I stare at my body, and the bodies of those around me, with the same model of perception that I’ve developed over years of looking at, and writing about, art. And so, I write these bodies through artworks.
The bodies I write are female bodies; the artists I feature are women. The bodies are written in fragmentations of cunts and tits and torsos; the artworks are sculptures, objects, ‘things’. Such decisions were not so much deliberate as they were inevitable, subconscious, vital; like digesting, sleeping, breathing. Some works I happened across in the many hours of my youth spent in galleries and museums; works which lodged themselves deep within the cavities of my consciousness and itched at me incessantly till I felt the urge to spew them out onto these pages. Others I searched for, in the moments that my body felt like an illegibility, as if shouting out to me in a foreign tongue, and through them I began to understand. And so, I write in fragmentations and slippages, between self and sculpture, body and other, then and now. For such is the way of memory, of time, of embodiment. Never linear, never stagnant, never ceasing.
These essays offer an autobiography not of the body but through it, through the women around me, through their bodies, through Hannah Wilke, Jennifer Cushman, Solange Pessoa, Rachel Whiteread, Ivana Basic and Rosa Verloop, through their sculptures. These are bodies of flesh and of clay. They have disgusted, excited, upset, aroused, asphyxiated, broken, beaten, provoked, awakened, enlivened, abjected, affected, startled, and stopped me somehow, in my tracks. Caused me to stare, at their unpredictability, at their strangeness, at their disorder.
Don’t look away. Stare at me, with me.