VON RESTORFF/ABSTRACTED FIGURES

I really loved the Soundsuit piece at the Orlando Museum of Art. I have a fascination with mannequins and dolls and things made to emulate people. Obviously, every historical sculpture of a figure is made to emulate what a real person looks like, but I think we have a tendency to categorize traditional historical sculptures and figures as "art" pieces and to mentally detach ourselves from them. Whereas a lifelike doll or a mannequin can be seen as creepy or disturbing because it emulates reality in a space that we don't necessarily expect it, where it has the power to emotionally impact us in a way that affects us more deeply. For my gallery, I tried to find pieces that represented figures in ways that were non-traditional and/or that abstracted the human body in such a way as to get us to take notice of them and/or interact with them more deeply.

Torso – Self portrait, Peter Peryer, 1976, From the collection of: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
This black and white photo shows a man's torso, cut in half by a pair of high-waisted, white linen pants. His lean chest and arms are enshrouded in shadow above the pants, and the figure is set against a white background. Because the photograph, titled as a self-portrait, has a stunted perspective, only showing the man's torso, it gives his physical identity an anonymous and faceless quality, while at the same time having an intimacy instead as the result of the up-close and physical portrayal.
Torso en verde, Joaquín Conde, 1999, From the collection of: Fundación Universidad de las Américas Puebla
The title of this piece, "Torso en verde," suggests that it's a torso. The rounded, natural form of the sculpture has characteristics that are vaguely identifiable as human features, but which are abstracted to the point where we're unable to recognize them as a body.
Lover, Sung, Dong Hun, 2009, From the collection of: Korean Art Museum Association
This piece abstracts the female sexual anatomy into a chair, by incorporating red lips stemming from the base of the chair, up to the cushion, and draped over the whole interior of the chair. The use of different colors to distinguish the interior of the chair from the silver grey exterior, along with the lip-like shape of the area below the cushion, and the partitions within the interior of the couch, make the chair identifiable as representing sexual anatomy.
Corpus, Unknown maker, Italian, about 1600, From the collection of: The J. Paul Getty Museum
This is a bronze statue depicting the crucifixion. By removing the traditional religious iconography of the cross, and depicting the natural form of a body seemingly hanging under its own weight, it emphasizes the humanity and suffering of the figure in a more intimate way.
This photograph is of a woman with her breasts bared, wearing a black ski mask. The juxtaposition between the ski mask (representing crime, and specifically rape) and her bared breasts with her long, painted nails seems to be a comment on objectification and gender roles. The use of the stark contrast of black and white in the photo (specifically, the black of the lingerie and the mask, set against the white of the woman's flesh) stresses the meaning of this image.
Votive Statuette, Unknown, 4th century B.C., From the collection of: The J. Paul Getty Museum
This piece is the statue of a of a torso, with a cavity in the stomach through which the intestines, as well as a religious figure sitting with his arms raised and his own heart bared, are visible. It seems to suggest a physicality or interior quality to possessing faith or spiritual belief, through the religious figure literally being in the figure's chest. The rounded forms and lines of both the figure and the intestines in the cavity make the disemboweled quality of the statue less disturbing, and make the interpretation of it as religious iconography more immediate.
Attic terracotta doll with movable limbs (plangona), Attic workshop, -0430/-0420, From the collection of: Benaki Museum of Greek Civilization
This is a Classical Era porcelain doll with movable limbs, that a Greek child would've played with. As a doll, it has an ageless quality and an immediacy to it; and we're inclined to view it in a more playful and interactive way, versus a traditional sculpture that we would have more of a detached reverence and appreciation for. The lines breaking up the movable limbs of the figure also visually give it a stunted quality, also contributing to the affect of making it more unassuming and less imposing as a figure. It's body shape is vaguely reminiscent of that of a Ken doll.
Elephant-L1, Shin, Chihyun, 2009, From the collection of: Korean Art Museum Association
The artist who did this piece, Chihyun Shin, was my favorite of all of the artists I looked at for this gallery. He seems to specifically explore different ways of abstracting figures and parts of bodies and representing them as sculptures. For this piece, titled "Elephant," he positions a woman's body in a way as to make her breasts emulate eyes, and her legs emulate the trunks of an elephant; then adds an oversized pair of human ears and a finger to look like elephant ears and a trunk. He basically takes features a human body and, by abstracting and reconfiguring the forms that make it up, turns them into what is recognizable as the head of an elephant.
Lute, Carlos Augusto da Silva Zilio, 1967 - 1968, From the collection of: MAM, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo
This piece was made to look like it came from a defaced statue. It is the center portion of a face, stuck in an unmarked tin, with the word "LUTE" stamped in red between the left cheek and upper lip. There are multiple definitions of "LUTE" online, so I don't know what the exact intention of this piece was. The one that made the most sense to me was the definition of liquid clay being used in construction work. Regardless of what the specific intentions of this piece actually were, this face was abstracted from its seeming original significance as a body and was re-attributed with the intentions of the person who stamped the face and placed it in the tin. The flatness in the form of the face, and its similarity in size and shape to the tin it's placed in, contribute to its defaced quality, because it is able to be re-appropriated so well into its new container.
Bouquet, Jim Dine, 1987/1987, From the collection of: Borusan Contemporary
This piece is of eight identical replicas of a traditional Greek figure of a headless, armless woman, spray-painted in different, bright colors. It turns the figure, which we attribute a historical significance to, into something mass-produced and conventional. The bright colors, which look waxy and similar to different colors of crayons, contribute to this effect.
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