The art and biography of Mari Katayama are directly intertwined. Suffering from congenital tibial hemimelia, Katayama had both legs amputated when she was nine. Using her body as the site where representations of diversity and identity are inscribed, Katayama explores the tensions between her lived bodily experiences and normative expectations of a functional human body.
Bringing to the fore her own body as a chiasma of different configurations, artist’s photographs constantly rearticulate the perception of the singular existence of the artist and of the human body. The self-portraits show the artist in a variety of domestic and private situations among intricately embroidered objects and accompanied by prosthetic legs of various kinds. Some of the latter are functional, others are designed to refashion the artist’s body.
Katayama interrogates the viewers by confronting them with staged and mundane scenes, in the public space and in intimate scenarios, in which fixed social and cultural norms of able-bodiedness are exposed to be challenged and redefined.