As a visual artist who frequently explores subjects using the body, I often hit walls when it comes to presenting my work. The body as object is difficult to overcome; we see skin and, naturally, we think sex. The body is such a powerful visual that it often dominates the meaning behind any image it is used to create (used — just the word you’d expect when discussing an object). And, if you ask me, that’s perfectly a-okay. Although the body as object is not the intended meaning behind my work, visual art has power because it can mean whatever you want. And, even though body as object is not my subject, it is still an important subject to explore.
Sometimes, when presenting my work, I struggle with the words to say. It’s not that I don’t know how to explain my work (I made it, after all), it’s that I’m never completely sure that I want explain what it means. My understanding is interpretation, and my interpretation is no better than yours.
Although I refuse to narrow the potential meaning of my images by giving too much contextual, I do want to share one thing. The body in my work is not intended to reveal the physical reality of the subject depicted — all visual art is a construction, after all — it is just my way to say: here is everything, and here’s something more.
The Nonexistence of Angels, 2019. © Andrew Be, 2021