syuzhet & fabulae
As conceptual artists engaged with cultural issues and critical theory in a hybrid artistic process blending sculpture and photography, our iterative research creation method of inquiry is understood as a series of creative case studies informing our visual creations. Our collaborative research investigates the nature of negative body representations associated with ageing, including narratives of inclusiveness and visibility outside normative constructs.
Often the point of departure is our understanding that as storytellers we are well aware of the complexity of an installation space and the way it is transformed over time, through spectatorship.
Our multifarious works are composed of ornate fabricated forms and found objects that are layered with encaustic and other binding agents. Each object is carefully selected and conceptually linked to our understanding of identity as a multifaceted phenomenon. Material excesses evoke growth and regeneracy and aim to destigmatize ageing bodies by showing their bountiful abundance and generative processes.
The subtle ambiguous visual violence in the assemblage sculptures of strangeness is then abstracted through the photographic lens opening a symbolic space where intimacy
– attraction and repulsion are synonymous.
Our hybrid artistic research approach serves as a tool for cultural and institutional critique;
it also serves as a conduit for creative commenting on the self in visual culture.
This project, in its latest form, is the result of 3 years of extensive, ongoing research-creation where visual propositions explore the implications to self-identity and agency of current negative body definitions in people’s lives. The work investigates how artistic transformative encounters, wherein underlying, unifying motifs evoke horror and frailty, also speak to common humaneness, regeneration, solidarities, and shared vulnerabilities.
Comprised of approximately 7 sculptures dialoguing with 15 large scaled photographs, this “ostreanenique” body of work displays narrative constructions of an experience: the syuzhet and the fabulae. Referring narratological terms inherited from Russian formalism, the syuzhet echoes the fractional and perhaps ambiguous information provided by the enunciative gesture subtly hidden in the fabricated objects (and revealed through the aperture) while the fabulae is the all-revealing materiality of the familiar rendered strange; its significant quality often unseen and/or overlooked, still affords full discloser and is ontologically replete. Thus, the declension of the syuzhet reflects the subjective, ground-level discombobulation of the fabulae and is intended to generate an array of emotions that keeps the viewers engaged.
Challenging discriminating stereotypes negating the fertile ground of ageing, its rich individuality, and the uniqueness of its personal landscape, our work celebrates the unique role of embodied transformation in the maintenance of our own personal ecology and the encompassing generosity and ingenious, regenerative creativity of nature. Yet, with this installation, we wish to draw attention to how life reveals itself in unexpected ways if we dare to look beyond what is superficially exposed and expected, thus challenging ideas that ageing is intrinsically defined by ontological decay and death. The work is strongly inspired by the idea that objects and their projected abstractions significantly encourage transference or transubstantiation processes. By provoking sensuous re-awakenings through reconsideration, reinterpretations of experiences entailed by the crafted objects, we are enthralled with enlivening embodied memories of humaneness.
Generated by contemporary considerations of the human body and its relationship to the natural/material world, our work attempts to steer clear of considerations foreseeing the body as a mere product of cultural factors and claims its affiliation to an earthy embodiment. By recounting bodily experiences and phenomenological impressions of significant objects, we aim at redefining knowledge of fleshy bodies, transgressing amid known boundaries of representation thus suggesting a more encompassing view of the corporeal.
Syuzhet & Fabulae tries to reconcile what we choose to see, ignore, what is culturally constructed to what is innate and inescapable, while directly addressing the participatory aspect of the viewing, which is essential for the work to be socially transformative.