press release

opening reception: Thursday 16 October, 5:30 - 8:30 PM

If the flesh disturbs you, then the reality behind the issue would disturb you far more if we opened our eyes long enough to see it. We live in a culture disconnected from what it is doing to itself and others, we choose to ignore rather than deal with the reality we have created for ourselves. – Adam Brandejs

Meat After Meat Joy brings together the work of contemporary artists who use meat in their work (raw meat, the concept of meat, its symbolism and viscera) in order to investigate the paradoxical relationship meat has to the body. Meat combines flesh, skin, muscle, organs, blood — each with its own relationship to the body, yet meat’s only reference to the body is as a once-upon-a-time living biological thing. By putting these artists together, the exhibition seeks to investigate the uncanny effect meat as a medium is for artist and viewer. This is not a show about meat as spectacle but about meat as signification, precisely because meat does not signify (a body) but its very annihilation.

Skin is the body’s largest organ and greatest protection. It is the body’s most public point of vulnerability and private realm of pleasure. Flesh is associated with the body often the body of Christ. It can’t be separated from the body except when it is torn, crucified, burned, flayed. Muscle and fat are anatomy, as well as the fit body, the football body, the anorectic body, the fat body. Meat is the body without skin. It has no identity. Meat cannot have a mood, cannot feel, nor have an intention.

And yet, an exhibition on meat seems like an obvious continuation of discussions of contemporary art and the body. Certainly in relation to feminism, meat has been an erotic and eschatological component of a libratory, transgressive discourse of female sexuality and the body beginning with Carolee Schneemann’s path-breaking 1964 Meat Joy. After Meat Joy, the female body was no longer the ‘poulet” or chick but an erotic and political force of the laugh of the Medusa (Helene Cixous)—the writhing ecstatic female body freed from the constraints of patriarchal definition (meat is the indefinable flesh) that expresses an epistemology (Interior Scroll 1975) into ontology (the feminist movement). In Meat Joy, although controversial, raw meat —animal human—and the human body are at their most uncontested and merged, for meat is not the absence or the other the body but an act of reclamation and affirmation of all that patriarchy had previously “disemboweled” from the female body.

But forty years later, in Meat After Meat Joy, meat, as metaphor or synecdoche of the body, is different because we recognize more clearly that meat is precisely what the animal or human body is when it is not. In other words, meat has no body, can’t be a body, may have been a body but is only called meat because it is no body. Meat here is neither flesh nor skin, but the notion of the human or animal at its most base, absolute zero point of being, “being” as completely without “Being”.

– Heide Hatry

only in german

Meat After Meat Joy
Kurator: Heide Hatry

Kümstler: Sheffy Bleier, Lauren Bockow, Adam Brandejs, Tania Bruguera, Nezaket Ekici, Anthony Fisher, Betty Hirst, Zhang Huan, Tamara Kostianovsky, Simone Racheli, David Raymond, Dieter Roth, Carolee Schneemann, Stephen Shanabrook, Jana Sterbak, Jenny Walton, Pina Yolacan