- self portrait (doll)
- bed, table, etc.
CTRL+C, CTRL+V, CTRL ME
Adam Munro's new work takes form as an installation allowing us access into an uncomfortably personal space. The artist's diary (or so we believe), along with his bed, desk, etc. are accompanied by a pathetic doll stitched in the artists's image. We are accustomed to treating dolls as playful objects of entertainment - Munro's work relies on this relationship to reveal notions of objectification and ownership, forcing the viewer into a role of responsibility. Surrendering in a way that grants him authority, the work depends on participation in order to become functional. Resigned to a hopeless existence, the doll sits innocently alone in a chair, but finds himself in bed with an audience by the end of the night. The use of the camera serves as a means to objectify his own body as the lighting and detail reveal more than one would generally notice. The nature of the photograph is to deny autonomy, subjecting the artist's body to the scrutiny of the viewer. After reclaiming his body from a two-dimensional photographic state, it remains lifeless and further subject to judgement in its upholstered form. Thrown into a space that he has created but one in which "he" cannot act, the graphic stories and uncensored nature of each element in the installation result in a provocative and uneasy space.
The prominent theme explored within this work is an abstracted idea of objectification. Martha Nussbaum lists 7 features involved when individuals objectify other people, usually women.
1 Instrumentality: the treatment of a person as a tool for the objectifier's purposes;
2 denial of autonomy: the treatment of a person as lacking in autonomy and self-determination;
3 inertness: the treatment of a person as lacking in agency, and perhaps also in activity;
4 fungibility: the treatment of a person as interchangeable with other objects;
5 violability: the treatment of a person as lacking in boundary-integrity;
6 ownership: the treatment of a person as something that is owned by another (can be bought or sold);
7 denial of subjectivity: the treatment of a person as something whose experiences and feelings (if any) need not be taken into account.
Nussbaum, Martha, 1995, “Objectification”, Philosophy and Public Affairs, 24(4): 249–291
The features listed above strongly correlate with politics around dolls or other inanimate representations of usually autonomous subjects, especially the Denial of Autonomy. By denying the subject/object its autonomy you deny it the right of existing by itself.
Here I attempt to impose objectification on my own body through the extension of the doll as a symbolic binary/medium, or as a subverted extension of my own body. The proposed artefact is to be interactive - to have the viewer experience the objectification process. The objectification is intended to be subverted or hidden, as the doll is by itself not autonomous, but is intrinsically linked to the autonomous body of the artist.
With the help of visual clues, the installation creates an imagined space for the the doll. The space is intended to help provide context. Set up personal space, with objects directly from my own bedroom to create a point of entry linking myself - the artist -between object and person. A hand written compilation of stories also occupies this space; an artefact in itself, it serves the purpose of reinforcing notions of autonomy onto the inanimate doll.
About the artist
Munro graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2012 with a culminating exhibition entitled What the Fuck am We? "..looking at the body as an object to determine whether or not masculinity can be inscribed on the body, or if it is something that could be performed." (Munro, 2012)
Munro went on to feature as the primary artist in the group exhibition #lookatmydickybird at the Culture urban+contemporary Gallery, showcasing his 2011 series Pinhole/Asshole - a critical stance on smartphone photography.
Munro's work speaks for itself. And it speaks loudly. Unlike Adam.