‘The Wound Man’ Illustration From Feldbuch der Wundarzney (Fieldbook of Wound Surgery) by Hans von Gersdorff. Published in Strasbourg in 1519.
What do we do when it hurts? What does it mean to have an open wound?
‘Panacea’ is a one month programme exploring the boundaries of the wounded body as a basic platform for understanding unsolved conflicts. With an intensive schedule of two exhibitions, performance programming and a round table session, the project aims to bring together artists, curators, theoreticians and medical researchers to meditate and express their ideas about the wound, questioning how open trauma – whether physical, political or geographical – can become an opportunity to revise bodily experience.
Participating artists: Hannah Honeywill / Michal Baror / Noga Inbar / Omer Even-Paz / Tessa Tapscott / OPR
Head curator – Bar Yerushalmi
Invited curators – Sofia Lemos / Louise Ashcroft / Jung-In Jung
Epidermis, ground floor view. Image: 43 inverness street
Part 1 – EPIDERMIS
12th November – 24th November
Participating artists: Hannah Honeywill / Michal Baror / Noga Inbar
Fossils of shell parts, dating back more than 200 million years, still keep traces of their healing process in their spirals. The imperfections of the damaged body canbe traced this far. The wound in its primary state has the same characteristics as it had millions of years ago; a distortion of the tissue, bleeding of the inside vessels and infection.
The wounded, in its primal sense, is firstly a state of openness. It is a portal by which inside and outside meet, where surface and underground mingles with each other, mixing liquids and substances.
Penetrating the Epidermis – the skin’s protective layer – is not just an act of tearing up living tissue, it is the very breaking of our illusion of wholeness. By being wounded, we acknowledge we can break, we can fall, that we are penetrable.
Scanning the Epidermis, enlarging it, reaching to its fractal limits. These methods of confrontation serve as anchor points for the artists exhibiting here. Their ability to trace and point to open cracks or half closed doors become a tactic move when addressing the surface limitation, by its biological, historical or political forms. These wounded objects exist in a state of chronic condition, a durational openness.
This exhibition, in very modest ways, wishes to extend this notion of constant vulnerability. It proclaims not to explain the reasons for the unhealed wound, but meditate over the basic nature of a wounded body in a state of inability to close its holes.
Noga Inbar, Phantom series (2015-16), Giant rubber band, Porcelain weight and prints on found paper 265x40x25 cm. Image: 43 inverness street.
Noga Inbar, Phantom series – detail (2015-16), A biopsy taken from the skin above the artist tail-bone. print on found paper.
Noga Inbar, CUTTING THE EXTREMES (2011-2012), Pencil and print on found maps, collage, 30×40 cm
PART 2 – DERMIS
27th November – 12th December
Participating artists: Omer Even-Paz / Tessa Tapscott / OPR
Observing the dead tissue, dissecting it to depletion; Can the surface reveal a hidden truth?
‘The Sentinel’ (1992), a film by Arnaud Desplechin, tells a story of a forensic medicine student who one day finds a suitcase with a shrunken human head on the train. Fascinated by his discovery, he begins an investigation of his own in order to try to find the head’s identity. The young man, so obsessed in his attempt to reveal information about the head, is left in his laboratory to dissect it till there is nothing left but a collection of unidentified pieces of dead matter. The investigation in his case is nothing, but a ‘dead’ end, a recollection of meaningless layers of skin and bones.
Coming from the Greek word νέκρωσις meaning “the stage of dying” or “the act of killing” the process of necrosis – a premature death of the cells – is in itself a durational event. It seems medical history is continuously obsessed with the hope of finding reason to the stillness of death. Science can trace the symptoms of dying in its biological sense, but not the thing itself. In order to define death we must first define life, or the ceasing of it.
This is of course not a medical investigation, but a reflection over states of lifelessness. Echoing the Pygmalionian desire of trans forming stillness into flesh and bones, the artists presenting here manipulate material into a zombie state of being, rising objects into half-living forms of existence. These ambivalent objects maintain a delicate dispute, resisting collapse yet failling to overcome the limitation of their own mortality.
By investigating the Dermis of things, we are constantly seeking after signs of a living undercurrent. Only to realise the surface is just an illusion, life happens elsewhere.
Tessa Tapscott, Proud Flesh (2015) G-Clamp, corn pads, vet wrap, beeswax, paprika, food colouring, 38x15x10 cm
Tessa Tapscott, The coroner: I am sure (2015) Found objects, vet wrap, string, carpet padding, spray foam, hair wax Dimensions variable