STUDIO DIARY // 4th November 2012

Posted on: November 4th, 2012 by Isabel Albiol

For the past few weeks I’ve been working on three different projects.  Firstly, covering a Rabbit vibrator with white rabbit fur.  Secondly, a Virgin Mary statue and thirdly, an installation work consisting of a multitude of cast dolls’ heads.

As always, my practise involves a plethora materials, technique and styles.  I think the art world would probably frown on this artistic infidelity, being difficult to pigeon hole or surmise adequately into a short sentence.  But as I mentioned in an earlier post it’s the idea that fore fronts the medium and object made.  I’ve always had a love of the surrealist’s assemblages of readymade with the unfamiliar and the rabbit fur vibrator is a homage to Meret Oppenheim.  A surrealist mix of humour, sexuality and provocation.  The fur covered vibrator offers a delightful mix of contratictions.  Both the wearing of fur and the owning of a vibrator are on the near-side edge of social acceptability.  The very tactile and extremely soft nature that the object is now endowed with, the rabbit fur, is blissfully silken to touch and stroke and is at odds with its original function, which, if pursued results in an and inevitably visceral conclusion.

The second work is another foray into the dark and murky waters of catholicism, my nemesis!  I was looking for a statue of the Virgin, in particular, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.  She has many titles, but I think this is the most provocative and indicative of the church’s will to effect control over female sexuality.  I eventually found a supplier in America, of course.  It’s a 33cm very finely made white statue.  The idea is very simple, I have placed a black silk blindfold over her eyes and given the work the title – Submit. I am currently in the process of researching an essay to talk about the work I make that deals with religion.  It’s a very complex one, so it’s going to take me some time!  Catholicism has had a personal effect on me through empirical childhood experience in Catholic institutions, which has led me to want to investigate its wider social implication and, in my view, harm.

Thirdly, I’ve been casting a series of dolls’ heads using plaster and a black earth pigment. Some projects have a very clear beginning and end, where I work from A to B.  This project seems to be going from A to Z and various places in between.  Once cast, the doll’s head becomes a haunted memory of its former self, no longer a plaything, but rather an object that is both moribund and tenebrous.  At first I thought a room full of these disembodied heads placed on the floor, surrounded with debris of pigment would convey its message of childhood trauma, like weeds of bad memories emerging from the ground.  But now I find myself wanting to cluster them together in a nest or swarm like form.  So for now I’m going to continue making them and see where their little egg forms take me.