21 October 2011

58 - still life

things have been pretty quiet and still around here as i've been devoting ALL my time to preparing for my comprehensive exams, giving it one last push to complete and submit my annotated bibliography so that i can write the exam in November. what better time, then, to share this animated Still Life (2001) by British artist Sam Taylor-Wood, a silent film work in which a painterly bowl of fruit decays at an accelerated place. engaging the seventeenth-century art historical traditions of vanitas and memento mori, it is perfectly visceral in the way it distorts time and captures the banality of the everyday. 

i particular like the way Taylor-Wood's work actively but subtly engages historical conventions and constructions. as i have been reading about the invention and representation of hysteria in the nineteenth century as part of my study of intersections between art, medicine, and the body, i am naturally drawn to another of her video works, Hysteria (1997), in which a woman performs the emotional states of laughing and crying in the absence of sound, blurring the distinctions between them.

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