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Australian art

Contemporary art

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Body double



Julie Rrap


1950 -


In the darkened exhibition space of ‘Body double’ two figures lie on the floor, silicon rubber casts of the artist’s own body, one face down and the other face up. The casts are deliberately rough with the seams from the moulding process showing and do not try to emulate the perfection we associate with classical representations of the nude. Projected on to one cast at a time is the figure of a man or a woman, seeming to give life to the forms but one which can be at odds with the gender of the cast.

From time to time the projected images leave the body which they are inhabiting and roll across the floor to the other body, bringing the cast to life but sometimes also blurring its gender identity. “In one instance, a female lies face-up on the face –down sculpture, so that the bottom is transformed into a pregnant form. In another moment, a male body lies within the female form, transforming the union of image and sculpture into a hermaphroditic figure. Identities are blurred as the projected forms seamlessly transform from female to male, engaged in a process of perpetual arrival and departure.” (Lynn, pg. 91)

The change in gender in the video image occurs as the figure rolls, and the body casts perpetually become one gender or the other while retaining a female form. The speed of movement is triggered through sensors activated by the viewer’s presence. A soundtrack in the space of breathing adds to the sense of an entire space animated by the physicality and image of the human body. It is impossible for the viewer not to become caught up in this dance of gender and physicality, of the representation of form and the form our own bodies take, of the embodiment of a sense of self within the materiality of the human body. Inevitably the traditional idea of a human soul leaving the body is also suggested, as is the transience of life and human physicality. The passage of time then becomes the other key to understanding the poetics of this work.


Place where the work was made

Sydney New South Wales Australia



Materials used

digital video projection, silicon rubber sculpture, electronic components


dimensions variable


Contemporary Collection Benefactors and Rudy Komon Memorial Fund 2007


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Julie Rrap

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 4 publications


Victoria Lynn, Julie Rrap: body double, ‘The trickster’, pg. 13-46, 2007, 38, 44-45 (colour illus., detail), 47, 90 (colour illus.), 91, 92 (colour illus.), 93 (colour illus.), 164, 167. images on pg. 92 & 93 are of preparatory work

Victoria Lynn., turbulence: 3rd Auckland Triennial, ‘Julie Rrap’, 2007, 29 (colour illus.), 99 (colour illus.).

John McDonald, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Naked truth behind the buzz', pg. 17, Sydney, 27 Oct 2007-28 Oct 2007, 17. review of 'Julie Rrap: Body Double' at Museum of Contemporary Art 2007

Joanna Mendelssohn, Photofile 81, ‘Her own woman: Julie Rrap’, pg. 34-37, Sydney, Spring 2007, 35 (colour illus.).