Christine Borland and Brody Condon: Circles of Focus
- Neil Cooper
- 18 March 2015
CCA presents works made following two-year-long research project into human body donation
Donating body parts after death has long been a staple of the scientific world. Yet, despite occasional conceptual appropriations of blood and guts, art hasn't attracted a similarly civic-minded set of card-carrying citizens. Christine Borland and Brody Condon's Circles of Focus project may go some way to change that as the pair show off the fruits of their long-term research in the shape of pit-fired ceramic sculptures, performance documentation and legal paperwork, which will also function as a proposal to potential body donors with whom the artists have worked over the past two years.
‘The work with clay began after spending time with a local experimental archaeologist in Orkney focused on the reconstruction of Neolithic pots, and later with similar jar coffin experts in Korea,’ explains Condon, whose previous collaboration with Borland, Daughters of Decayed Tradesmen, was seen at the 2013 Edinburgh Art Festival. ‘We were intrigued that, over many thousands of years, similar clay shapes and forms evolved across the globe. The contemporary recreation process of these vessels, based on excavated fragments, combined with current digital construction methods, has determined the development of our sculptures.’
Ahead of the CCA opening, Borland and Condon will host an open firing at Cove Park on Sat 21 Mar. During the exhibition itself, informal 'rehearsals' will document the abstract traces transferred from the sculptures to the skin of carefully positioned surrogate living bodies. This will see Borland and Condon make an aesthetic proposal for the physical remains of the donors.
‘We immediately noticed, and were intrigued by, the unexpected indentations on the surface of the donor bodies,’ says Borland, ‘these geometric shapes were in sharp contrast to the most organic of materials, the human body. The shapes had been created by the hypostatic process that occurs when blood stops flowing and moves to the lowest gravitational point, leaving an indelible impression of whatever surface the body was resting on at the time.’
CCA, Glasgow, Fri 3 Apr–Sun 17 May.