The group exhibition “And Your Flesh Is My Greatest Poem” takes its title from a poem itself. Brought together by curator Mohamed Almusibli, artists Sitara Abuzar Ghaznawi, Isabelle Cornaro, Shahryar Nashat, Dala Nasser, Hana Miletić, and Ser Serpas explore poetic abstraction in ways relevant to their mutual subject of the body and respective mediums. Risen from the materials of these artists’ fevered process, the painted and sculptural exquisite corpse still bears the inevitable scars of ordinary life. To regard the abstracted, artificialised poetics of the body is complicated, so far from ordinary somatic philosophies. Ripe folds, cartilage, fluid discharge, bloating – all assessed by the artists as they test the extent to which the remains of the body are functional, and how corporeality may be legitimised on a conceptual level. In uniting these positions under poetry, Almusibli invites reflections on the deconstructed sensorium.
Cornaro’s larger-than-life-size resin pillars show reliefs of bodily and artificial litter (Streams II, 2019), however it is Nasser’s naturally-dyed bed sheet compositions which bear closer resemblance to Heidi Bucher’s seminal latex “skins”.
Less elegiac, Serpas’ differently sized portraits on unstretched canvas reveal large swathes of skin belonging to anonymized plastic surgery patients (but not their faces) as she tracks the progress of various surgeries via before and after photos from the website RealSelf.
Nashat is most explicit in this regard, showing hunks of meat made from resin (Bone-In, 2022), a painting of a landscape of flesh and bones (Boyfriend_10.JPEG, 2022), and an assemblage of see-through vinyl bags filled with his lover’s yellow urine laid out on a foam mattress (Lover_25.JPEG, 2022). Likewise, peeking between the chrome legs of Abuzar Ghaznawi’s bar-stool-bodies (Saint, 2021), we see their guts of roses, mesh, foil, empty cigarette packets and other items endemic to her readymade sculptures.
Par Serpas, only Miletić seems to err on the side of healing its pragmatics, the forms of her hand-woven and automated Materials and Softwares textile sculptures (2019-2021) coming directly from the shape of repairs to damaged and transformed inanimate objects in public space.