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Rapt and Branded – 2006

Ivan Dougherty Gallery, UNSW 15 to 18 February, 2006

Rapt and Branded – 2006

Rapt and Branded is an exhibition presented in 2006. It expresses a long-term interest in bodies as a site for the expression of social and cultural change. The relationship between bodies and an increasingly commodified global culture is central to the work. It focuses on how individuals negotiate and express their world through superficial and intrusive body change practices as expressions of ethnicity, gender and cultural capital, mapped out as exteriorisations of self.

A series of porcelain objects playfully satirise elite-branding, and the fetishist impulse often stimulated by visual media culture, to enhance one's identity by adorning the body with expensive products. A desire to wrap the body in elite-branding has been pushed to an extreme so that bodies have lost their distinct and separate identities, morphing instead, into a favourite pair of Manolo Blanhik shoes or Chanel gloves.

Ambiguity plays a significant role within this series of work emphasising the tension between consumer branding and individual identity. Cast limbs appear to be struggling against the seamless veneer of consumerism ‘wrapped’ like packaging around their body parts. Others celebrate consumerism with uplifted gestures. These porcelain sculptures are casts from actual bodies that make visible wrinkles, veins and imperfections. This aspect of the work contrasts with the polished and homogenised ‘white skin’ of consumerism.

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