Monday, 4 January 2016

Body Art

More than a Body: Organic Perception
Fredrika Rose

Tuggeranong Arts Centre

This exhibition from last year features watercolours, sculpture and installation by Fredrika Rose, winner of the 2013 Emerging Arts Support Scheme (EASS) Award.

Her work explores biological aspects of our lives, such as a print which resembles a wallpaper design of imaginary bacteria as if seen through a microscope. The colours and intricacies drip bodily fluids and reveal natural features such as mountains, flowers and rainbows. The juxtaposition of the earth's grandeur with the minutiae of cellular activity draws parallels between botany and biology.


Some of the pieces explore the self-destructive capacity of the human body, such as these pieces incorporating silk, human hair and alpaca hair. The positioning of the three items recalls the ceramic flying ducks favoured of interior decor of certain demographics. Rather than being comforting and homely, however, the installation has connotations of hatching eggs and aggressive cancerous growths.

Fredrika likes to challenge the viewer by contrasting the weird and fantastic; matching dark humour and shocking spectacle. Dressing up animal skulls in pearls and feathers is a heightened memento mori reminding us that all beauty must die, but that organic adornment will transform into alternate energy. In other words decomposition is creation. It's an intriguing concept.

Other sculptures are made from medical accoutrements, such as colostomy bags and drips, coiled on themselves and arranged to resemble a bunch of flowers. The artificiality is pronounced and obvious, but the human mind likes to interpret inanimate objects naturally.

Other aspects of her work in this exhibition are blatantly physical, which both attract and appall. The surreal style is simultaneously playful and voyeuristic bringing curiosity to a corset-styled torso, or a technical design inspired blueprint for human plumbing.

Her artworks are often surrealist in style, but she can also draw Michelangelo- style anatomies when she wants. Even in these, however, her restless curiosity is apparent.