Upon walking into this room, as I was still turning from screen to screen in that dizzying moment of dislocation, I was immediately struck by the sturdiness of these women’s bodies. That sturdiness seems to me to be the essential kernel of this installation. The body is strong. The women lifting their skirts in the rain are not quite joyous, though part of the effect is joy. They are a little savage, but most of all, they are strong.
The topless woman, hair over her face, smacking her sternum with a human skull is an image that insists on being disturbing, yet here too, though the slightly slack and pallid flesh on the woman’s arms swings with each thrust, the muscles beneath are fluid and solid. Her breasts are lopsided but full. The skin of her stomach is only slightly pinked by the continuous smack of the skull. Her hair covers her face, yet it is healthy hair, and her rhythmic exhale is reassuring. She seems to have retreated behind this curtain that is a part of herself to come to terms. Death is present but not dangerous, is sturdy, perhaps, as the women are sturdy. The images are dark, a little bleak, a little wild, and yet I remain left with the sense that this installation is about the incredible strength of the physical body.
It is deeply visceral, especially in terms of these two images. It is easy to feel the rain, the smack of the skull. It is easy for one’s own muscles to identify with those on the screens. The body is a gigantic space, but one in which there is no getting lost. The installation seems to me to be about coming to terms with (and rejoicing over?) the huge pragmatic living the bodies of these women are doing, and which our own bodies recognize.
posted by: Taya Noland