The flesh is weak but the spirit is strong. Using meat, as a material is most certainly an interesting concept with predisposed associations and references. Once passed a slightly sickening sweet scent at the opening there are interesting levels to investigate. The material is life and death symbolically of course but it is also a signifier something was and is no longer itself. Though it is almost impossible to get around the “spectacle” of the material, Heide Hatry plays down that aspect in order to dig deeper into the collection of works.
Betty Hirst’s works are visceral chunks formed into sculptures. In Hirst’s “American Flag” piece she creates horizontal lines of meat and lard sprouting maggots deteriorating before your eyes within its frame. Possibly, we have come to this collectively, a carcass of ideals left to fester. In her work “Dried Baby” the meat infant is a basic figure with minor details alluding to gender. Faceless lying on a light pink satin material under a single hanging gallery light, small stains have begun to settle into the fabric. The disturbing warmth of the yellow light washes over the work as in a strange hatchery...
In Zahng Huan’s video “My New York 2002 – Performance Whitney Biennial” Huan’s meat suit is as bulked up as any contemporary super hero. He is now publicly fully exposed, vulnerable without the most basic protection of his own skin.
Carolee Schneemann’s "Meat Joy (1964) performance" in which both men and women roll around biting raw chicken unleash unabashed desire bound to the body but not exclusive to it. They roll and slide, playfully confident in their “being” without concerns of social or sexual pre-conditions and judgment.
Curious by nature, I oddly found myself wanting to touch the work to experience its texture first hand. Would it really feel different because of its placement in a gallery and presence as art object than preparing it for dinner? This is where the brain kicks in to add its two cents to the experience.
Heide Hatry wearing a black jumper with thin slices peeking through cut outs invited me to touch it. Naturally, I did hoping to find an unexpected reaction. Still supple with a slightly dried thin layer, the meat against her body gave way as if I were touching something deeper. She had given me something which felt very personal, a moment to see beneath the layers of skin through the cut outs of the jumper.
What she had given was a rare experience.
Daneyal Mahmood Gallery
511 West 25th Street, 3FL
New York, NY, 10001
T: 212 675 – 2966
F: 212 675 – 3966
contact the gallery for further information and a full list of participating artists.