The Good Kind of Disgust
Body Break is showing at Redbird Gallery, 135 Van Horn, from 1-7pm this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It's a short stretch of time to check out a well put together and ambitious show.
While I'm not convinced that everything in the show is a success, Vincent Chevalier and David Whitten, the artists behind the exhibitions, took a lot of risks with this work and you can really feel its' integrity. Dealing with ideas of disclosure, the commodification of hygiene, mass media and gender, the show still manages to remain personal, relevant and sincere.
The work that most affected me was a large video projection in which Vincent Chevalier uses an electric flosser to clean his gums. In the close-up footage of his mouth while he performs this task, blood and saliva stream plentifully down his face as the audience is barraged with the intense sound of the electric devise. Talking to Chevalier about this work, he said the performance had not been very painful; the work was rather a demonstration of the realities of imperfect bodies, in this case the performance was extremely close to the normal realities of flossing for someone who suffers from gingivitis. The resulting video piece was both intensely uncomfortable to watch, and intriguingly beautiful in its' colour and composition.
Whitten's works were also intriguing, often drawing into question the viewer's involvement in the work. The collaborative piece the artists undertook for the show didn't speak to me as much as their individual work, buts it's clear that their practices are in dialogue with each other and it will be interesting to see their collaboration continue.
It's always good to see a show that pushes a bit at my boundaries, makes me feel a little disgusted, a little uncomfortable with what I'm looking at. Body Break brings me to this point, leaving me with a hint of guilt towards the intensely personal rituals I've witnessed, while still remaining refreshingly outside of the realm of 'shock art'.