All photographs, however real they appear to be, involve radical transformations through scale, dimensionality, cropping and framing. The photographed body can be subjected to or participate in an infinite number of transformations and reconfigurations. Body parts indicates some of these possibilities.
Body parts features over 20 photographs by 19 Australian and international artists from the Gallery’s photography collection. It encompasses four overlapping themes: the performative, earthy, fertile body; the body in extremis; the classical body; and the abject body. Fragmented perspectives on the human form have become increasingly commonplace since the advent of the camera. Photography’s ability to communicate the extent of the body and its metaphors is played out here.
The flattening of form through the photographic plane allows for abstraction from the familiar and the enhancement of imaginings. The body is more than it is normally described to be – it may seem headless yet is alive, have contorted or isolated limbs, possess extraordinary musculature, or become the site of dreams and fears. Photography makes the body completely malleable – a contradiction given the inherently static nature of the medium.