Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Helen Chadwick: Ego Geometria Sum/The Labours

Ego Geometria Sum The Labours I - X', Helen Chadwick, 1986 | Tate

Helen Chadwick (1953-1996) was an artist who really embraced the materiality of things.  Her work included the photographs on objects as bove but also bodily fluids (Piss Flowers (1991-1992), meat (Enfleshings I & II 1989) & (Meat Abstracts 1989), fur (Philoxenia 1994-1995) and many others.  Chadwick's kinaesthetic relationship with the physical runs through all her work and the work I am discussing here.  She began with a full-size self-portrait which 'she painted photographic emulsion onto plywood and exposed monochromatic images in washed-out hues' (Sladen M 2004).  She then began to place these images onto objects that showed different times in her life from a baby (pram) to school and later life using objects such as a piano, tent front door of a house.  She poses naked in each one to make the shape of the object.

It is interesting that as Chadwick creates these sculptures that in all she chooses not to show her face, Sladen states this 'emphasises the universal quality of the work' Sladen M, 2004) and this is always an important factor as an artist creating work that comes from yourself but the world can connect to. I am going to be using a slightly different process that Chadwick here as I will be using the decal but this idea of personal and universal has to come through so that it has a wider meaning.  The flesh and the object really connect in these images they have meaning to the artist and this embedding of the artist into the object is very interesting creating an eternal connection between them and also as she used images through her life, a life story through objects.   

I will come back to these themes as I develop my own work here as there are very important elements of connection and universality that I would like to explore further. 


The Tate (2020) Helen Chadwick, The Labours I - X [Online] Available from: (Accessed 04/08/20)

The Tate (2020) Helen Chadwick (1953-1996) [Online] Available from: (Accessed 04/08/20)

Sladen M.(2004) Helen Chadwick, Corporation of London, Hatje Cantz Verlag. London

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