By Ann Lovett
New Paltz, New York: Sunburn Editions, 1999. Edition of 200.
13.25 x 4.75", opens to 56”; 10 pages. Vertical concertina with orange silk-wrapped hard covers with flags, hard covers. Two-color offset lithography printed on Mohawk Superfine paper. The structure is loosely based on the Surrealist parlor game, "The Exquisite Corpse," in which several players draw on folded paper to make a composite drawing. The type is New Century Schoolbook, Gill Sans, and Garamond Italic.
Ann Lovett: "In a time when genetic engineering and the sexual behavior of public figures dominate public discussion, the body continues to be a contested site in Western culture. As a result, the human image in contemporary art and culture is positioned at the highly charged intersection of the personal, the moral, and the political. As the technological demands of medical science increasingly dominate the public sphere, the traditional roles of religion and community as arbiters of social and moral choice in contemporary society have been supplanted. At the same time, the Cartesian privileging of mind over body and the intellect over lived experience has led to the primacy of scientific methodology and a consequent discounting of sensory experience and the voice of desire as sources of knowledge. No matter how much the body is culturally controlled and proscribed, it asserts its wayward and illogical nature; its inherent messiness and temporality ultimately defy classification and control. It is here where the insistent presence of lived experience and the voice of desire come up against and intertwine with the search for analytical explication and control that the most interesting territory is to be found.
"A composite of medical images and interlacing texts describe the attempt to find clarity in the intricacies of physical and emotional experience and to reconcile those experiences with the analytical descriptions of science and medicine. The accordion format and composite figure are reminiscent of ‘exquisite corpse’ drawings, where each participant draws a section of the body without looking at others’ drawings. I chose this format both to refer to this game popular with the Surrealists, and to reflect on medicine’s fragmented and mechanistic view of the body."