On the Subject of Body and Space

16mm film with sound transferred to HD, 8:53 min

Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo.

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The nude model is an archaic motive in art history, and throughout time art has sought to problematize the relationship between individuals and the space they inhabit. The voyeuristic gaze implicit in this predicament became even more evident when photographs were introduced on the art scene. The visual regime of photography renders visible both the individual who sees and the individual who is seen. Man, and the naked body in particular, is objectified.

One artist who clearly and explicitly relates to the body in space, is Edvard Munch. Munch's many paintings of models, including self portraits, nudes and other portraits, all elicit a distinct awareness of spatiality and perspective. Recent Munch research also shows that Munch was not acting independently of his time, but that he used modern mechanical portrayal and reproduction technology as an artistic tool. In his method Munch was concerned with finding a visual charge in the model's body which could express the subjective, symbolic themes that preoccupied him. In the exhibition On the Subject of Body and Space, Marte Aas has tried to implement a similar strategy, a methodical phenomenology of sorts, to study the representation of body and space. Is it possible, through a picture, to convey a subjective experience of the body in space?