Creative Heritage - Bodies Beautiful
17.09.2010 - 09.10.2010
Lesley Craze Gallery
33-35a Clerkenwell Green
London EC1R ODU
Bodies beautiful – the grace of movement of bodies in harmony with themselves, of physical self-assurance that comes natural and does not need to be studied, of a desire to adorn the form that protects the soul. There is no shyness in this, no hesitation, no fragility – from body paint to ritual costumes, from fetisch to traditional jewellery - objects for body adornment in Africa and the Caribbean are boldly visible statements of the wearer’s relationship between his outer and inner self.
It is therefore not a question of the inherent material value of the object of adornment. Instead size, décor and positioning of the piece on the body give an indication of its importance for the wearer vis-à-vis his own physical persona and which part of the body he or she perceive to be most suitable for beautification or visual recognition.
All three artists in the present exhibition come from different social and intellectual backgrounds. Two have gone through Western World higher academic education, one in the English and one in the French system, but in different parts of the world and outside their own cultural heritage and identies. The third has learned his skill from the age of thirteen in a tiny, dusty workshop in Africa, without access to any refined tooling or challenging and inspiring new materials or processes.
Yet there is a common visual narrative in their choice and appreciation of the beauty and ‘honesty’ of materials, which are a natural part of their immediate environment and therefore in the total absence of overriding decoration. There is a common boldness in the use of shape irrespective of its intended application, whether this concerns a ring, a necklace or a head-, arm-or leg-piece, a very personal communication that speaks, however, not only to the wearer but also to the world at large.