Shifters

Sitting, oil and acrylic on plywood, 170.18 cm x 86.36 cm, 2009, Standing, plywood, 215.9 cm x 74.93 cm, 2008 and Circle, ink on paper in a metal frame, 43.18 cm in diameter, 2009. Image credit: Thierry BalSitting, oil and acrylic on plywood, 170.18 cm x 86.36 cm, 2009, and Circle, ink on paper in a metal frame, 43.18 cm in diameter, 2009. Image credit: Thierry BalSitting, oil and acrylic on plywood, 170.18 cm x 86.36 cm, 2009, and Lifting Leg, oil and acrylic on plywood 236.2 cm x 81.28 cm, 2008. Image credit: Thierry BalSitting, oil and acrylic on plywood, 170.18 cm x 86.36 cm, 2009, and Leg Up, oil and acrylic on plywood, 221 cm  x 81.28 cm, 2008. Image credit: Thierry BalSitting, oil and acrylic on plywood, 170.18 cm x 86.36 cm, 2009, and Leg Up, oil and acrylic on plywood, 221 cm  x 81.28 cm, 2008. Image credit: Thierry BalRight leg Up, oil and acrylic on plexiglass and plywood, 236.2 cm x 81.28 cm, 2008, and burnt, digital print on paper, 185 cm x 350 cm, 2008. Image credit: Thierry BalBent, acrylic and oil on plywood, 160 cm x 86 cm, 2005Squat, up and lift, acrylic and oil on plywood, dimensions variable, 2005Assemblage 2, acrylic and oil on MDF, dimensions variable, 2004Red stander, 215 cm x 76 cm,  acrylic on plywood, 2010

The Shifters aka the Cut Outs, are cut out shapes performing different gestures in space.  They reference a frozen body caught in a state of movement, and are informed by my research into post-colonial theory and the creation of an identity as a subject and an other.  I made them to be out of context, as slightly alien and not fully formed, bodies in stasis and without ground.

These cut outs are constantly dislocated from their background supports and compelled to renegotiate their existence in new environments. Formally, they exist in a place between painting, sculpture and drawing, and teeter between near recognition as abstract bodies and performing different gestures.  The cut outs set out to intentionally destabilize a simplistic and patronizing cultural stereotyping of the subjects they allude to.

Covering or leaving their surfaces blank and paying more attention to the act these figures are caught in keeps them in a state of ‘becoming’ – leaning, crouching or slouching against the external supports against which they are propped up, and upon which they depend. This further complicates any singular interpretation of the work, as each setting changes their context, dependent on their backdrops. They sometimes fall into the trap they signal themselves as attempting to free themselves from.  In removing them from a prescriptive frame, we discover that the frame, whatsoever it may be, insists.

Could anyone miss that these are female bodies covering themselves up and protecting themselves from a perhaps threatening sexuality? Are they safely preserving their provocative nature in a mummified pose, persevering in frozenness to keep dormant a force that might in certain contexts be seen as inappropriate and overwhelming? Perhaps they stay still and camouflaged, hiding themselves from those that might objectify and reduce them.

WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien