Bodies on Edge powerpoint/abstract


Vanessa Lorriman – 1970s research

Leonie Katsarona – Introduction research

Talaila Samran Hurley – 1980s research

Roberta Howson-Janes – Contemporary research

Francesca Mills – 1990s research

Title: Taking the notion of ‘the body on edge’ as your starting point, present an account (an overview) of the of artistic and theoretical developments in this sphere over the last 40 years. Refer to selected works of art in each phase.


In our studio practice, we all explore themes of the body, therefore, having to reflect upon the body on edge, it was a challenge for us to further discuss this topic. For us the body on edge means pushing the boundaries of the physical body, and the artist using their body as their medium or canvas. However, performance art has evolved through the decades with regards to society and art movements.

We discussed how in the 70s, body art became a replacement of painting and sculpture, and how body art is aimed to unite physical psychological and emotional experience. In the 80s, there was more of a movement to create a link between life and art, and to involve the public more within the art world. In the 90s, art became more abject and about the fascination of horror, which body artists began to take on board when putting their bodies on edge. Contemporary art and body art has lost its political messages and has turned to being more about the aesthetics of the work. Although in the earlier 2000s, pushing the body to the edge was arguably a less effective mode of work for artists, in more recent works, it seems to be making a come-back.


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