Body Works

Published July 12, 2013

Historically, artists depicted the human body as an object of unmitigated beauty. Classical sculptors and painters paid homage to both the female and male body in the purest sense. As technology and, simultaneously, our understanding of the complexity of sickness, evolves, contemporary artists are finding new ways to explore the human form. In the beautifully conceptualized exhibit “Antibody at Lower East Side gallery Lisa Cooley, these complexities are examined through a series of works that span across photography, video, sculpture, and painting.

Featuring pieces by Ed Atkins, Matthew Brannon, and Helen Chadwick, the group exhibition both celebrates and objectifies our greatest instrument. “Our body is mediated and extended by technology and completely commodified,” explains the show’s press release. “This explodes and expands the body, as well as contracting and concentrating it.” These paradoxes are exemplified in the works, which represent the body in both beautiful and grotesque iterations. Anthea Hamilton and Julie Verhoeven’s sculpture Fruity Seating, parts of which litter the space, provide a modern take on a natural, feminine beauty while Helen Chadwick’s jarring photographs of meat and innards, and Matthew Branon’s “privates defective” unhinged door provide a more challenging depiction.

Taken in holistically, “Antibody” encapsulates the modern body in all its glory and the ways in which media and technology have altered the way we see both ourselves and those around us. One cannot help but walk away feeling more attuned to and confused by the skin they live in.

“ANTIBODY” IS ON VIEW AT LISA COOLEY IN NEW YORK THROUGH JULY 26.