Michaelis Galleries presents Between Subject and Object, a group exhibition exploring the depiction of human remains at the interface of art and science. The exhibition, which runs from 7 to 30 August 2014, also accompanies the Medical Humanities in Africa Conference.
In the representation of the dead, there seems to be a continuum, or sliding scale, between an emphasis on the subject-ness of the deceased individual and the object-ness of the corpse. The exhibition will highlight this continuum as an analytical tool to explore and deepen discussion regarding the depiction of human remains, drawing out similarities and differences between photographs, illustrations, films, performances and objects of scientific and cultural interest.
Whilst the exhibition began with a consideration of contemporary postmortem photography, the focus grew to incorporate a set of concerns around the idea of the ‘real’, whether articulated through objects, performance or modes of representation that are perceived to a particular kind of visual ‘truth-telling’. Photography functions as a key reference then, emphasizing the acts of looking, thinking and questioning.
The curatorial process has been openly dialogical, with the three curators bringing their particular interests, experiences, institutional affiliations and personal concerns to bear on the selection of artworks and objects. In so doing, the ethical imperatives of working with human remains and the representations thereof, have been a primary consideration, and have actively informed the artworks and objects that form part of this temporary collection.
Death is a universal topic, yet is often inhibited by controversy and sensation, or taboo and nostalgia. In addition to the exhibition itself, panel discussions, a film screening and a catalogue will seek to further explore the difficult subject of representations of the dead/fragmented human body. The project as a whole thus serves as an exploratory gesture, an attempt to approach and perhaps even challenge the ‘fixed’ frameworks we have about dead bodies.
Curated by: Penny Siopis, Kathryn Smith and Josephine Higgins.
Featured artists: Igshaan Adams (ZA), Jordan Baseman (UK), Maeve Berry (UK), Jack Burman (CND), Jillian Edelstein (ZA), Sue Fox (UK), Paul Greenway (ZA), Pieter Hugo (ZA), Gerhard Marx (ZA), Nelson Mukhuba (ZA), Colin Richards (ZA), Walter Schels and Beate Lakotta (DE), Jeffrey Silverthorne (US), Buhlebezwe Siwani (ZA) and Kathryn Smith (ZA).
The exhibition also includes selected items from the Collection of Medical Morphology Museum (Stellenbosch University) and Pathology Learning Centre (University of Cape Town).
Between Subject and Object is made possible through a grant in aid from the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) to Michaelis Galleries.
Opening: 7 August 2014, 18:00 for 18:30 by Margie Orford, with performances
Walkabout: 20 August 2014 at 13:00
Public Mini-Symposium: 30 August at 10:00
Film Screening: 20 August at 19:00
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Friday 11:00 – 16:00, Saturday 10:00 – 13:00, or by Appointment.
For further information, contact Josephine Higgins on +27 21 480 7170 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: Igshaan Adams – Bismillah