FOCUS BIENNALE: CORPOREAL NATURE | SHEREE HOVSEPIAN
Sheree Hovsepian, an American artist of Iranian origins, pursues with her practice a hybrid approach between sculptural gesture and photographic image in the name of materiality. Different objects, made with different materials and different shapes, are assembled by Hovsepian within wooden frames, which are transformed into contemporary ‘drawers of wonders’ in which images of naked bodies of women are recognizable.
The subject of the work are photographs that portray the artist and the artist’s sister, portions of their photographed bodies are combined with natural elements like leaves or seeds, but also nails and metal wires, appropriating and reinterpreting the hybridization between human-animal or human-vegetable. The reference to surrealist and Dadaist practices is evident and explicit in the dreamlike and magical atmosphere that the resulting forms of these collages transmit and record at the same time.
Andre Breton concluded his novel Nadja with the statement “Beauty will be convulsive or will not be at all“, Corporeal Nature (2022) by Hovsepian updates the spirit of Dadaist and surrealist thought expressed by the French author. These collages, themselves hybridized in three-dimensionality, seem to play with the compositions resulting from the Exquisite Corpses, a surrealist practice of expression and liberation of unconscious impulses. The outcome of Hovsepian’s practice and research it is a figure in which the body is fragmented, almost only hinted at, and leaves room for the creation of a different corporeality and forms generated by the stratification of different materials. The gelatin silver prints find new vigor thanks to the combination with ceramic or metal wires and even wooden inserts: disruptive dynamisms and anatomies present themselves to the observer who can only rediscover a new human being. The body represented by Hovsepian, characterized by different natures and languages, embraces a magical and erotic dimension, which arises from the combination of different materials, which evoke different visual but above all tactile sensations.
The assemblage generated by Hovsepian rediscovers the representative and symbolic qualities of analogical figurative experiments in a predominantly digital context. Corporeal Nature is a return to a totally tactile and anatomical dimension of the human being to discover a profound relationship with the natural and material world.
Corporeal Nature, 2022
Silver gelatin photograph, ceramic, string, nails, walnut artist frame (80.1 × 64.7 × 8.9 cm)
All works with the additional support of Rachel Uffner Gallery
59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, The Milk of Dreams
©Photo Marco Cappelletti