The human body:
Through my fine art practice I explore the landscape of the human body; internally and externally, physically and psychologically, with all its lightness and all its weight. My work looks at the tensions, connections and divisions between the body and the surrounding landscape. I’m fascinated by the ways in which the forms of the human body contrast with the forms of the built environment and the natural world. I work on paper across drawing, photography, text, sculpture, and performance.
Over the last year I have expanded my practice into the area of performance making through an MFA in Creative Practice at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. Through this programme I’m exploring theories of movement and somatic practice by creating ‘action paintings’ with my whole body.
For 15 + years, alongside my fine art practice, I have worked on public engagement projects with a wide range of educational, non-profit and government organisations. These projects have used participatory workshops, installations and exhibitions to engage local communities and generate conversation around specific social and environmental challenges. Find out more here: Elio Studio.
The thread running through my work loosely subscribes to a sense of ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ – the title of that celebrated novel by Milan Kundera. I have always been fascinated by this excerpt from his novel about human frailty,
“The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man’s body. The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?”
Kundera, M., & Heim, M. H. (2003). The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York : India: HarperCollins.
I’m particularly drawn to the simplicity, directness and meanderings of the line: the sketch, the vein, the narrative thread, the topographic contour, the incision, the scar, the boundary, the path, the river, the road, handwriting, a branch, a join, a walk.
“An active line on a walk, moving freely, without goal. A walk for a walk’s sake. The mobility agent is a point, shifting its position forward.”
Klee, P., & Moholy-Nagy, S. (2000). Pedagogical sketchbook (Nachdr.). London: Faber and Faber.
“When, drawing a sketch map for a friend, I take my line for a walk, I retrace in gesture the walk that I made in the countryside and that was originally traced out as a trail along the ground. Telling the story of the journey as I draw, I weave a narrative thread that wanders from topic to topic, just as in my walk I wandered from place to place. This story recounts just one chapter in the never-ending journey that is life itself, and it is through this journey – with all its twists and turns – that we grow into a knowledge of the world around us. A James Gibson argued, in laying out his ecological psychology, we perceive the world along ‘a path of observation’.”
Ingold, T. (2016). Lines: a brief history. London ; New York: Routledge.