The Unlovely, 2007–2008
First Site Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
is a series of drawings that question our preconceptions of human normality by considering images of physical abjection and emotional vulnerability. Here the artist endeavours to address issues of ‘normal’ society’s reaction towards bodily disfigurement. The works presented are a synthesis of drawn and montage images using as reference late 19th century and early 20th century ‘freak show’ photographs. The conceptual concerns underlying these works have been referenced by my research and reading of psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva’s writings on the abject and by using my own understanding of her theory addressing ‘normal’ society’s reaction towards bodily disfigurement dating from the late 19th century. The Unlovely aims to let the abject assume its potential power by reminding us of the precarious nature of our own ‘stable’ normal identities.