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"It's Inside: Katharine Meynell and Alistair Skinner"
2005-05-04 until 2005-05-29
Cafe Gallery Project
UK United Kingdom
It's inside, an installation - towards articulating an experience of disease. Funded by the Wellcome Trust, It's Inside is an exhibition of video and sculptural objects, accompanied by an artists‚ book with Marion Boyars Publishers. This collaboration between Alistair Skinner and Katharine Meynell takes the representation of disease, and the experience of disease as it's central theme, formed from traces, symptoms and fragments, located between documentary and installation art practice. In this way it follows a conceptual tradition of art practice in which personal histories overlap the wider realm of social and aesthetic ideas.
When artist Alistair Skinner was diagnosed with cancer in 2001, he and his partner Katharine Meynell decided to create 'It‚s inside‚' an art work exploring the representation and experience of disease from the position of
the patient. In collaboration with Alistair‚s friend Dr. Eric Clark, who lives in Saskatchewan, Canada, they documented Alistair's illness in videos, diaries, drawings and objects that will form the basis for an installation...
....An important theme in the work is the 'otherness' of disease and illness: the transforming power of a diagnosis of terminal illness, which forces the individual to reposition his identity to that of a dying person.
(Bergit Ahrends in 'Talking back to Science: Art, science and the personal')
Work shown will include concerns about imaging processes, a looped image of the body slowed until it starts to show it‚s materiality (break down), a stand-up routine where performance artist Gary Stevens takes the position of cells inappropriately replicating and mutating, and some medical equipment and surgeons diagrams re-presented for sculptural qualities. The idea of things in unsuitable places kept recurring, inspired by bowel cells in Alistair‚s liver. There is a kind of ridiculous surreality about it, but it was difficult to find appropriate ways of representing this. Once on morphine Alistair started to be able to visualise his tumours in new ways, cherries in jelly, big bags of balloons squeezed up tight, a strangeness about bubbles in a glass of water, colours, spots in after images etc. The book is based on sketchbooks and diaries, layering images and texts, laying open differences between medical image and visceral response. In pulling the work together, other is! sues arise that are profoundly uneasy. The idea of collaboration is now outside of reason, yet it is what is being attempted and what becomes "It‚s inside".