Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Andrew Rewald March 2009

Reply To Artist’s Statement – Extended Need, Extended Desire.

Is it possible to see food as an extension of the body? The body has an appetite. It must have food. We are what we eat. The need for nourishment doesn’t undermine the sensual pleasure of food, though – rather it complements and challenges that need, for we all know there’s such a thing as bad food, junk food and unhealthy food. Apparenlty people crave it. They crave KFC and chocolate, that moment where the taste buds are wildly stimulated. This apparent craving which exists in an odd spectrum of thought for me; I find I don’t really crave junk food at all. It’s alcohol that’s my bad desire, and watching Andrew Rewald sip red wine as part of his performance seemed totally logical. Not food, but appetite. Appetite is the ultimate signifier of the undeniable actuality of the body. Andrew’s body and a controlled, perhaps forced investigation of appetite became a part of the work: need into action, in a tradition where performance grows from sculpture, but then again, to exclude such an aspect would have made this an incomplete body of work.

If we eat meat we devour bodies too. This work echoes the ultimate taboo of cannibalism, horrific yet firmly entrenched in myth and culture: Saturn ate his children. Sylar, a villain in popular TV show Heroes devours the brains of his victims and takes their special ability, just as some primitive Polynesian cultures are reputed to have taken their enemies strength in a supreme act of dominance. I Conquer you, I fuck your spouse and I eat you. Appetite unbridled.

Andrew’s dripping sculptures echo horror and fascination and revulsion; the Cannibal Apocalypse, and the very real issue of life-threatening eating disorders. Mould, new life, eats the old in the cycle of decay and rebirth upon a pedestal, life itself everlasting, growing out of decay. Bacteria eating, simple life as old as the planet, far older than humanity. Appetite gave birth to us, not we to it. We are a product of appetite, of desire.

Rewald delves deeply into uneasy territory, where sex and death are implied by the simple, human act of preparing, sharing and eating food.

Take, eat. This is my Body.
Do this in remembrance of me.

Andrew Harper.

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