January 26, 2019

Where is the line between flesh as material and self?

Madeline Mackay


Meat, Mud and Water considers the materiality of the body and the lines between sense of self, body, and inanimate material. I explore this in the context of my own changing relationship with my body following illness. By repeatedly reconfiguring strips of discarded butchers’ meat into patterns and structures, I interrogate flesh as a material and ask where the self ends and at what point the body ceases to be of the self and becomes ‘other’. Through the CMYK printing process the colours break down so that one substance leaks into the next; fleshy tints invade the mud and earthy greys emerge in the meat and my living flesh, raising questions about where one ends and the next begins. ‘Meat, Mud and Water’ explores the anxiety that comes with recognising the otherness of the body and renegotiating a relationship with it on new terms.

This inquiry is pressing in a time when the sense of self is increasingly less limited by our substance. Rebellious flesh can be subdued and brought into check, its mortality pushed into the distance until it becomes an abstract idea instead of a visceral reality and flesh’s origin in the self becomes unrecognisable.


Meat, Mud and Water II
CMYK screenprint
86 x 57 cm