The Body in Art, Desire and Action
The body’s use as a medium in art since the peak of conceptualism and performance art in the sixties and seventies has yielded some provocative art objects, images and questions. Provoked by a personal encounter and practice with self-inclusive art, this study addresses the questions arising from that personal journey. The element of narcissism in body-inclusive art is explored through Kohut’s The Restoration of the Self. Questions regarding the actual art object - body or photograph? - are approached from Barthes’ Sontag’s philosophies on photography. The body’s ability to reconnect the artist and the viewer to its primal origin is worked through Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy and Plato’s metaphor of the corporeal. Unique abilities of the body as medium are proposed with regards to the body as the locus for shared human experience and shared human understanding of the senses. Mendieta and Gormley’s respective motivations for incorporating their bodies into their work are also explored. This study is in association with a larger creative project engaging the body in several unique contexts culminating in a series of photographs.
Keywords: Art, Body, Experience, Photographs, Nietzsche, Ana Mendieta, Antony Gormley, Sontag, Barthes
Jennifer M. Mills
Student, Concordia College