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Visualisation of the imaginary feminine body : from liquid to solid sculptures


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Phillips, Anna 2004 , 'Visualisation of the imaginary feminine body : from liquid to solid sculptures', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This research was initiated seeking alternative representations for existing
and conventional depictions of women in western art history and popular
culture. The visual work is founded on the manipulation of oppositional
liquid substances, shampoo and used bath water, to form a new material, an
imaginary substance. This synthetic and organic combination can be altered
from a liquid to a solid state, behaving in a similar manner to an alchemical
unguent, that is, a constructed emollient able to dissolve its appropriated
properties through the layers, both physical and imaginary that surround the
feminine body.
Within this mix of opposites, exist the signified properties and societal
values of the original sources. Its transformable materiality refers to an
absent feminine body and, most importantly, to its surface, mass and odour.
The sculptural pieces acknowledge the relevance and domination of
patriarchal constructs that are employed towards these dominant signifiers of
feminine representation. Within the developed forms the properties of these
constructs are addressed and re-employed to create a type of self-portraiture
and the suggestion of lived bodily experience.
This developed substance is capable of performing as an aesthetic metaphor
for the layers, folds and invaginations of real skin. The created sculptures
visualise the surface and form of the hidden interior and the outer visible
layers that surround the feminine body.
The writer Rebecca Solnit in her essay, 1 suggested that one looks in the
places between desirable and disgusting if interested in seeking a new
feminine aesthetic based upon the unimproved female body. Visualisation of
an Imaginary Body generates a range of interpretations and possibilities.
Indeed, the discovery of this mid-zone offers an alternative that relies on a
much broader range of sensations than is currently acknowledged or given

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Phillips, Anna
Keywords: Feminine beauty (Aesthetics), Body image in women
Copyright Holders: The Author
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Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2004. Includes bibliographical references.

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