University of Tasmania
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The body : the illusion of perfection

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posted on 2023-05-25, 23:58 authored by Williams, ET
In contending that sections of Western society seek to conform to the myth of the perfect body image, reconstructing the exterior so much that we no longer recognize our true selves, I am making a statement that goes against the classical beliefs of the anatomically perfect human form. In doing this I question society's devotion to ideas associated with the beautiful. Two decisive eras, the Classical and the Hellenistic altered the perception of the human form to the present day. I have directed my attention to artists who broke the constraints of these classical traditions of what was conventionally considered beautiful. Some who have challenged the myth of beautiful perfection are Antony Gormley, Janine Antoni, Shelley Wilson, Ron Mueck, Egon Schiele and Duane Hanson. Their work invoke preoccupations with ordinary and emotional themes relating to body image: teenagers suffering from eating disorders, suppressed issues of cosmetic surgery, habitual themes of isolation, mortality and doctrines on the mundane in suburban culture. These impact on my art visually and conceptually. In my artwork I am endeavoring to personify physical alteration: the multiple transformations that some undergo to be noticed in the crowd; how effortless it becomes to alter physical appearance and begin again. The material I use is latex with its resemblance to skin and so visually compatible to the concept I am endeavoring to impart: the constant physical alteration in an attempt to be accepted. Hyper-real body parts bought together in an installation present themes of relentless change, volume and satisfaction or discomfort with outward appearance. Body image and image of the body is all encompassing and unavoidable and will always be a part of our lives. It has become inherent in contemporary culture. The project illustrates the consequences of adhering to the classical archetype of perfection: the chronic reshaping of our physical exterior. It is narrated through my own experience in submitting to this dogma; the relentless struggle with my physical appearance and the reconstructions I have undergone in an attempt to be noticed.


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  • Unpublished

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Copyright Copyright 2011 the author

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  • Open

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