September 27, 2018

How does the body affect our being?

Valérie Stevens


In creating this work, I explored how my grandmother’s body influenced her way of being throughout her life, how her bodily condition might have affected her identity and how she was perceived by myself and other loved ones. The work represents how physicality is embedded in this complex and dynamic process of identity, that includes past, present and future.

The work represents the three chapters of her life in which her body played the leading role. The second image marks the turning point, when she suffered from a haemorrhage. This affected not only who she would become, but also how her loved ones would remember how she used to be. The first image represents her life before the haemorrhage. I learned about this period of life through photographs and family stories, which perhaps idealised my notion of her prior self. The third image represents the final part of her life, where she developed dementia, caused by the haemorrhage that became rooted in her being.

Although the same photograph is used in each piece, the appearance transforms across the work. While I did notice change in my grandmother, I still wonder whether or not, she stayed inherently the same.

Each piece is sized 37×50 cm
Mixed media
Printed photograph transferred to delicate paper
Paper primed to create leather texture~
Finished with (liquid) acrylic paint