Recalcitrant Bodies

31 Aug — 23 Sep 2017

Isadora Vaughan



Photo credit: André Piguet

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Recalcitrant Bodies 
Isadora Vaughan

Opening Thursday 31 August, 6-8pm
Exhibition Friday 1 – Saturday 23 September 2017

The Honeymoon Suite is pleased to announce the opening of Recalcitrant Bodies on Thursday 31 August 2017. Recalcitrant Bodies is a sculptural installation by Isadora Vaughan, which includes individual works and text by Clementine Edwards, Debris Facility, Amanda Horowitz and Aodhan Madden.

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Imagine you are a fish, turned inside out, then in again, then out.

If the floor is the flesh, these armatures are the bones, and the rest is the fat and the organs and the swarms of information that talk and travel, atmospherically between, breathing in, breathing out. Inside is another landscape.

Recalcitrant Bodies is a sculptural installation by Isadora Vaughan, which includes individual works and text by Clementine Edwards, Debris Facility, Amanda Horowitz and Aodhan Madden. Spanning across the entire gallery, Vaughan utilises steel, ceramic and glass to build a ground across the space, one that houses tender, sculptural manifestations of an imagined body’s interior.

A poem by Clementine Edwards plays through earbuds strung up and threaded between a loose mobile of beeswax in the shape of a flying, mollusc-like coat hanger. The poem charts a non-linear experience of violence. Textile and sculptural works by Amanda Horowitz draw, tape, glue, drag, burn, and prick pictures onto bodies. She disrupts the pattern or silhouette of cloth and readymade clothing, creating costumes and backdrops for a violently stylish theatre diorama – a cape that can be worn slung across the face of power. Circling around the space, Aodhan Madden contributes a series of small texts, dissolving, weeping, moving towards absorption. In 2016 Debris Facility made a film of a performance with Vaughan’s installation Cunjevoi exhibited at Station Gallery, Melbourne in 2016. Here, the film will be represented, absorbed, reiterating the messy lines of authorship and further subverting any claims of ownership that the individual works might once have made.

Recalcitrant Bodies wills felt bodies out of a recipe of dissimilar ingredients, baking them into the building’s mass. It uses the context of material enquiry to engage in the politics of synthetics, feminism, ownership and trauma; and interrogates how these things can manifest in some physical state, bound and unbound by the laws of nature.

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Isadora Vaughan is a Melbourne-based artist working in sculpture. Her practice unpacks and experiments with material as geological, temporal, associative and emotional. She has a BFA (Honours) from the Victorian College of the Arts, 2014. She is represented by Station Gallery, Melbourne.

Clementine Edwards was born in Melbourne, lives in Rotterdam and is undertaking her MA at the Dutch Art Institute.

The Debris Facility Pty Ltd was founded in 2015 as a means to illuminate processes of resource repurposing, affective labour exchanges, dematerialisation of value, and mutations through transport and logistics. Operating across an intersection of sculptural installation, performance and wearable works, The Facility works from a parasitic framework, implicating other life forms, situations and spaces through processes of chance, accumulation, mutation and entropy.

Amanda Horowitz is a Los-Angeles based artist. She works with and between sculpture, video, writing and performance. Amanda earned her BFA in Interdisciplinary Sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2013 and attended the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture in 2016. She is also a co-founder of Medium Judith, an experimental theatre company founded with Bryan Collins (circa 2013).

Aodhan Madden is an artist and writer based in Melbourne.

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The Crawling Floor

So, I moved to a city with no center, thinking it would be so nice to have no dominating locale. It was political, this move. A shift towards horizontality, away from value judgment. Before I left I said, I WANT shapelessness, I WANT the open-end, I WANT THIS PLACE WITH NO CENTER…

When I felt this wind, it dilated my eyes. Instantly reorganizing and contracting the what I thought was to I seem to have got it all wrong. Life disturbing life. I was considering vistas and looking far, but now I seem to be grounded in skintight terrain. Lights and buildings are sending their own shapes towards me in billowing hysteria. It’s fussing all over, like a confinement gone insane.

I tried to fight it, but it seems that I’ve made up my own center, a personal dominion found its way through. My feelings have the keys; I now have to face what I choose to see. And somehow, despite wanting to do away with it, I’ve formed a world that no one else can really enter. In the desire to eliminate structure, I’ve become obsessed with my own. It’s funny to become your own tyrant, even when you thought you knew better. My disavowal of centers is just proof of their perpetual company. The thing I desire has the capacity to revert and attack, revealing a logic impartial to my own. I can’t make a world by declaring others null. I’ll have to carry both these things, the center and its bagginess, with me into the unknown future. I’ll hold them close to my chest, allowing them to flicker and twist between my breasts. I hold this lesson close, and let desire go.

A body reflecting the climate, a body reshaping to climate. A climate blurring the feelings of the state of being. I talk about the weather all the time now. I’m obsessed with finding it’s subtle changes, asking others exactly how they feel about the color orange. Asking, are we in this world or did we just get pulled out?

Now, we work like the weather, becoming absent and present all at once. It’s an attitude that shapes form, no matter what is touched there is a shadow that spits and pops from the underbelly. The forms are a detritus to the attitudinal shifts, weather patterns read inside out.

Antonin Artaud wrote in To Have Done With the Judgement of God (a horrifying, crackling monologue written as Artaud was in the last holds of rectal cancer)

And truly

must it be reduced to this stinking gas, my body?

To say that I have a body

because I have a stinking gas

that forms

inside me?

He understood that he would not receive full justice, full being let’s say, until he was returned to a body without organs. That is, a body without sections or parts, no longer a series of individual things apportioned within a form. Sort of like soft vision, but not soft at all, more like the violent potential of all at once. Terror holding beauty’s hand , because she knows they will always be joined together. Like a Russian doll stack, finding each

other within the negative placed part. And I’m not afraid to say it. I hold this lesson close and let desire go.

I learned about psychic freedom from this thing without parts. A spreading, flickering, undying sensation that there are forces and ghouls that possess and travel between us and things, making us into things. Erogenous things, sensual things that can’t help but touch.

When my friend was in intense pain I tried to find a way to go there with him. I tried to imagine my body as his, feel what he was feeling so I could begin to relate to and understand what he was trying to describe. What did time and space feel like for him? It was a mystery to me even when we shared the same room. Was it like my stomach pain, was it like my ass ache? I don’t know, how would I ever. I can’t use my memory of prior illness and pain to shape and turn or screw this into a relational merge. There will always be that gap. There will always be an absent third that dangles and taunts between my form and his. I hold this lesson close and let desire go.

Until we became true erotic spirits,

they pressed me

until the idea of body

and the idea of being a body was suffocated

in me,

and it was then that I felt the obscene

and that I farted

from folly

and from excess

and from revolt

at my suffocation.

Because they were pressing me

to my body

and to the very body

and it was then

that I exploded everything

because my body

can never be touched.

And truly

I hold this lesson close and let desire go.

Amanda Horowitz

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The exhibition and works have been made on Kulin Nation land. The participants acknowledge the Wurundjeri people as the first and continuing custodians of these lands and waters. They recognise sovereignty has never been ceded and they pay their respects to their Elders past and present.

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Image: Magnification view of human blood cells under a Color scanning electron micrograph. Science Photo Library / Alamy Stock Photo.