Meanwhile, back at college…
Our task was to join forces with a couple of fellow artists for a one-day-only, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it exhibition. We called ours In. On. Off. because our work is concerned with the physicality of self: what we put on our bodies as adornment, enhancement or concealment; what we put in our bodies to fight disease and promote healing; and what ultimately comes off our bodies – dead skin, hair and nails.
Here’s what my press release had to say about my contribution to the show:
Terry Barber’s work often incorporates the most basic elements of herself, family and friends – the stuff that’s hardly noticed but that gets sucked up into the vacuum cleaner. As well as crumbs, fibres and the odd button, this inevitably includes skin, hair and nail fragments from everyone who spends time in her home. ‘People leave memories and impressions when they visit, but also their physical self, their DNA,’ explains Barber.
Her artwork for this exhibition, We’re All In This Together, uses an oversized bra filled out with balloons and the detritus of everyday living gathered from the vacuum bag. She describes it as: ‘A kind of symbolic, exaggerated self-portrait that includes a little of everyone that’s important to me. My bosom buddies, if you like. They are integral to my make-up and wellbeing, and this demonstrates that, metaphorically, I’d like to sweep them up and keep them close to my heart always.’ With the balloons giving a nod towards the pneumatic breasts that many women aspire to in today’s fashion for a pumped-up profile, the artwork is in turns funny, disturbing, repugnant and, once you know the context, strangely poignant.
Oh, and of course I decided to put this baby in the corner. Just for the hell of it.