Leanne Olivier Gedaante Verwisseling 2016 | Art.co.za | Art in South Africa
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Gedaante Verwisseling 2016

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Gedaante Verwisseling explores the constructed notions surrounding humanity in relation to animality. It raises this question:

"Can I be human without the animal, the subjugated Other par excellence? Derrida [in The Animal that therefor I am] explains that in relegating the human to a distinct, superior realm of difference from the animal, we have come to think that humans are the only animals that can be truly naked at all. This is because this feeling of shame reveals that we have knowledge of ourselves (as naked and otherwise), ostensibly unlike other animals. But we forget that this "knowledge" arose only in connection to and by invocation of the animal. (R. Tuvel. 2011:217)

In this series of paintings, the title of works: Gedierte, Gedrog and Gedaante is not used as a measuring tool or a means of affirming our humanness in relation to animals. It is rather used in light of questioning and reflecting on our supposed superiority in the “great chain of being, positioning ourselves as securely as possible between beast and divinity. Not a God, to be sure, but thankfully not an animal.” (L. McCullough. 2011:55)

The line between human and animal (consciousness) becomes destabilized in my work. The clay slip (clay & water mixture) painted on the bodies and faces is used as a medium (mask) to unmask deeper realities. It goes beyond race, gender and the narrow instructions of what makes us human. It is the recognition or embodiment of the OTHER. By depicting the figures; half animal, half human, I try not only to extract the negative connotations which surround the ‘animalistic’ but also for a liberation to open a platform for a more embracing and enlightened relation to the complexity of all life.

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