On October 29th, 2017 Bat-Ami Rivlin showed her work produced during her residency, in her solo-exhibition Untitled: Fleshy Objects.
Bat-Ami's work explores different performative aspects of the body as meat, sex object, and remnant. Her interest in bodily characteristics transforming objects into flesh, makes an in-between ‘abject’ that is not inanimate, nor alive. The abjection of flesh, its transformation from the proper to the formless, exhausted, and rotten, is a key concept to her work.
The understanding of our bodies as vessels, outer-layer, and as separate from our conscious selves is questioned. Exhausted materials, fleshy forms allude to the meat-like properties of the human body and the social implications of the consideration of our own process of disintegration. The bodily functions that signify our biology and remind us of the ephemeral and embodied nature of existence are rejected in an attempt to create a space separate from deterioration of the body. Thus, the flesh emerges in different roles that are performed for an audience, such as an image, a tool, or an illusion. Our bodies are no longer the makeup of ourselves, but rather a visual representation that is both separate and irrelevant to what we assume as the inner being. The body becomes upgradable, malleable, and theatrical. In its theatricality, it performs the role of 'object' dictated by the social space or context. In domestic spaces and in official social settings, the body becomes a hinderance, as the sight of flesh and its corporal attributes clash with the understanding of the authority of the so-called pure intellect.
Moreover, intimate spaces in which flesh is supposedly allowed to exist, have also become contested, mediated by the beauty ideals of popular mass culture. Particularly with female flesh, the body’s naked appearance becomes an immediate ‘nude’, a showcasing of previously constructed desirable female attributes that are meant to please and entice a potential audience. That is why the re-inserting of flesh in its corporal form into the domestic, the intellectual, and the intimate spaces of culture is an act of disturbance.
Photography © Zelé Angelides. 2016. All rights reserved.