Body Sculpture, Becoming/ Visible/Invisible (To Make Ends Meet) 2015

Link to my artist’s web site and the Ingot Prize page on that

And the London Bronze Casting Ingot Prize page link


To Make Ends Meet a body sculpture

The embodied body worked to its individual best. Not an idealised beauty but an optimum for oneself to do with fitness and performance.  Occupying a space.  Pressed up to a surface.  Here an exchange takes place and an imprint made.  The surface reveals the residue of an energy exchange and an imprint of the individual surfaces.  An object record of occupying a space, one against another. The embodied body intertwined with space. A visual permanency of a moment when the world was altered by an exchange and a residue created.

Female strength is powerful.  Grace is a quality to do with the internal feeling, external movement and audience point of view. Being in charge of your own body is key.  Occupying a space is not always straight forward.  A + B = C makes the body stronger, fitter.  What else configures the space around affects the body.  Uninhibited, a surface the skin finds infuses the body with emotion. Yet human beings work on many levels and the objects in space that surround them affect the response and  that impacts on the emotions. Social constraints, psychological make up, past experiences and emotional chemistry play their part.

Emotional echoes affect the assemblage.  Muscle Memory influences the embodied form.

The project is to train to increase muscle tone and to see if it is possible  to hold  a pose for long enough  to make a detailed cast.  The endurance needed, to hold the body section in tension, for a to be tested length of time.  If the tension is lost the moulds will not work well.

Otherwise, and perhaps more feasible, the job is to train specifically to increase muscle tone a bit further to a point where it will register in the way I want it to without that tension being needed.  or perhaps something between the two.  It is experimental.  The process will shape what is possible as it evolves.

…it seems the admittance of humanism into art has validated the body’s reappearance once more: after the cool detachment that persisted throughout the Modernist period and even beyond, the visceral and vulnerable body is now a potent signifier of lived experience as well as a medium of formal and aesthetic inquiry. In popular culture , too, the body has become more visible as a challenge to constricting social codes, through the adoption of piercings tattoos and other modification. The body then has become recognised as the principle arena for the politics of identity, as well as, a facilitator and marker of belonging…’  (The Body In Contemporary Art, Sally o’Reilly, Thames & Hudson, London, 2009, p. 8)


embodied form to be worked into sculpture


starting training for body sculpting  & toning


The aim is to increase the sculpting of the muscle tone so that it registers on the mould and works into form, in the sculpture.

This is to be researched over the next few weeks.  To train hard and to body sculpt. Pushing the embodied form, to register power. Testing the pose, to occupy grace. How to hold the body in its sections- to bare skin, to mould, to clay, metal, wax or wax mixed with marble dust..

Then to work with Tom, a technician from London Bronze Casting, to make moulds of sections of my body. To feel relaxed and comfortable, to work well with another. It is about embodied form in sculpture. The body a vehicle for the invisible becoming material.  The Muscle Memory defines the pose.  The mould a documentation of that point of contact.  Where internal meets external and an exchange takes place.  The merging, the residue to be cast into clay, possibly porcelain mixed with paper, or metal or, wax or wax mixed with marble dust.   Strong – strength and grace.

‘It is the only bit of the material world that I am inside.  The idea of inventing a body when I have a real one already is a pointless project.  And anyway, there is a huge advantage in knowing what it feels like from inside.  This is all about communicating feeling; I want to use ‘my;’ whole body as my instrument like a dancer does.’ (Anthony Gormley, London 2011)

Anthony Gormley’s ideas about using his own body as a starting point resonates with my own. I would like to register the Muscle Memory  within the body.  The memory that drives the muscles to perform tasks. Key to our physicality. Dance, movement, fitness, strength training, running all part of my physicality and in my distant Muscle Memory-gymnastics.  A theme to be explored in future projects.

I will research different materials.  It will be assembled, possibly using wax or metal but not in the traditional order of the figure necessarily.  And going up, up into the air, like a trapeze artist, a dancer flying free in the air, powerful and full of grace.

Kiki Smith

Kiki Smith (above)


Bruce Nauman’s sculpture, Hand to Mouth, has inspired me and I liked the added meaning the title gives to the work.  Having researched idioms and found lots to play with, I have decided upon,    To Make Ends Meet, for my sculpture.

Bruce Nauman hand to mouth

I am planning to make sectional moulds of my body in stretch.  I need to trial how I can hold stretch, in terms of times and stability.  The piece will possibly explore the idiom, To Make Ends Meet.   The body to stretch and circle, to meet. The sectional casts will be suspended going in a circular motion from floor to ceiling and back.

Stretch in terms of physicality.  Stretch in terms of the idiom – it is a stretch to make ends meet.  Many people feel this way, financially, at the moment. Also, it references the working artist, who often find it a challenge to make ends meet, in the financial sense as well.  Additionally, this is what I do, as an artist, in order to hope to make ends meet…

In Form, the work will stretch and circle to make both ends meet.  To stretch happens a lot in ballet, my muscle memory is developing in this field.  I might trial my stretching at the gym and ask my PT to train me further on this.

‘While future art histories may well interpret the re-emergence of the body as tied to an era rather than to a medium, for now the reasons for its resurgence appear to be multiple, contradictory and consequently exciting.’ (The Body in Contemporary art, Sally o’Reilly, Thames & Hudson, London 2009, p. 15)

June 2015

I am using isometric training at the gym to increase my ability to hold a pose in tension.  This project references other artists, such as Kiki Smith and Bruce Nauman.  Their work has inspired my thinking.  My own research is concentrating on muscle form & training, muscle memory and gender.  Also the idea of visible/invisible and becoming.  By casting the female form the sculpture embodies issues relating to gender.  The muscular form questioning expectations of the female form.


Also see the Ingot Prize page on my artist’s website


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