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Posts by: Casey
What question/problem did you choose?
How do we make it through all of the challenges of life? Where does our strength come from?
Tell why you chose this topic and why it matters to you.
In my life I have struggled with a lot of different things. Sometimes it feels as if everything and everyone is trying to bring me down, including my own body. It is like I am constantly carrying around the weight of mental illness, physical illness and just general tragedies. Yet I know that still a lot of people have it worse off than me. I want to examine what is that keeps us going through the worst of times. Where does our strength come from?
Give some details on the problem/question—explain it in depth.
Everybody faces challenges in life. It is part of what makes life interesting. We carry around our successes and failures with us and hopefully learn from them. As many struggles as we face, people keep going until they eventually die. When we die, it is not only a release from all of our problems, but also a release from all of the good things that keep us going. Then some would say we are reborn, only to start the balancing act of life all over again. This is best summed up by the Buddhist philosophy of Samsara or the endless cycle of suffering. Of course, views on life/death and rebirth vary amongst cultures and people, but the ups and downs of life occur everywhere in the world. Everyone carries the past with them.
List out 10 tangible people/places/things that are associated with your question/problem.
My initial reaction is to want to move closer to the piece, to determine whether the figures are alive or sculpted. I get feelings of shock and awe at the hauntingly beautiful dark figures peering out at me. The whites of their eyes draw me in, at the same time giving me shivers. The figures are so dark it is almost like they are shadows. In its entirety, “vb66” elicits an eerie sadness touching the viewer’s soul.
Female models painted black in the nude are posed on a large square platform. There are at least 60 of them all with dark brown or black hair of varying lengths. The models towards the outside of the platform are reclining on the ground gradually posing in more upright positions towards the center of the platform where they stand. This positioning creates a pyramid effect. Dispersed throughout the models are broken black sculptures of women. The sculptures are lifelike and are most easily distinguished from the models by the lack of white eyes.
Vanessa Beecroft is famous for her use of models in performance art. This exhibit is no exception. The decision to use models forces the audience to interact with the piece, make eye contact. The decision to keep the models in the nude gives them a sense of vulnerability to the viewer. By painting their bodies this vulnerability is lessened slightly. But the black paint also makes the models blend in more with the life size figure sculptures breaking them up. Black as a color choice is bold and dark as black has a lot of connotations associated with it including death.
The Work in the World:
Modern art is increasingly interactive. Beecroft’s work is no exception. The audience’s reaction to the piece is part of the artwork. The interaction is between subject and viewer is in some ways the greatest part of the art. In this particular piece naked models make eye contact with the viewer, increasing the interaction between subject and viewer. As models look out at the viewer with their stark white eyes, they become alive in both the past and present.
The Story It Tells:
This work was installed in Naples, Italy in 2010. To me, the location of the piece, along with the pyramid-like structure and soot black figures allude to Pompeii. As a tragic historic event in Italy, Pompeii must have influenced Beecroft’s work in some way. The black models look to be coated in ash and feel deathly especially posing beside broken body parts of sculptures. In addition the shape of the piece could be compared to that of a small volcano. Black not only symbolizes death and burial, but also invisibility. These women, dead and buried are also forgotten.