Hsc Visual Arts: Artists Who Use Bodily Fluids in Their Work Essay

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  • Topic: Andres Serrano, Blood, Art
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  • Published : March 23, 2011
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Investigate the work of artists who have used human parts or bodily fluids, such as hair, blood or urine, in their work.

Artists who have used these in their work include artists such as Wenda Gu, Julie Rrap, Andres Serrano, Marc Quinn and Mee Ping Leung.

Wenda Gu has used both human parts and bodily fluids in his work. He uses genetic materials such as hair and powdered human placenta to refer directly to the individual as he wants to be involved with the audience and society. Gu uses hair to illustrate the cultural identity of a country. For example, for his Australian installation he used different colour hair to refer to the nature of Australia's racial mix.

Julie Rrap has used human parts in her work to challenge how the body has been represented. For example, in 'Vital Statistics', Rrap presents traces of her own body in rubber moulds that carry impressions of her skin and hair.

Andres Serrano has used bodily fluids in his work. Many of Serrano's pictures involve bodily fluids in some way- depicting, for example, blood (sometimes menstrual blood), semen (for example, “Blood and Semen II” (1990)) or human female breast milk. He has made a number of works in which objects are submerged in bodily fluids. Most famous of these is “Piss Christ” (1987), a photograph of a plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of his own urine. More recent work of Serrano's uses faeces as a medium.

Marc Quinn has used blood in his work. Quinn's self portrait 'Self' is his signature piece in the art world. A frozen sculpture of the artist's head made from 4.5 litres of his own blood, taken from his body over a period of 5 months. This he first did in his late 20s in 1991 and continues to do it every 5 years to document his own physical transformation and deterioration.

Mee Ping Leung has used hair in her work. Leung Mee-ping began producing the installation work, “Memorise the Future”, in 1998. She collected hair from more than 10,000 people through hair salons,...
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