KEITH DIETRICH
Bodies,

BODIES, TRACES, IDENTITIES

Bodies, Traces, Identities was a response to debates concerning the visual representation of the human body. The exhibition comprised 151 unframed watercolour fragments and four ink-jet prints of body parts installed in grids and friezes on the walls and floor of the gallery. My interest in depicting the body has been largely motivated by a desire to challenge dominant Western based ideas concerning the human body, such as canons of beauty and racial and gender classification. The work Physiognomical Identities, for example, comprises 63 small watercolour fragments of eyes, ears, noses and lips of very ordinary people of different ages, genders and cultures randomly installed into a large-scale grid on the wall and floor.

Central to this and the other works on exhibition was the tension between chance and order. The somewhat accidentally `torn out' fragments of body parts were placed in the centre of uniform square sheets of white paper and uniformly installed, echoing some or other anatomical or medical display. Unlike scientific classification, however, these installations make no attempt to evaluate the subject matter on display. Images are simply juxtaposed alongside one another without any apparent intention or documentation.

My use of the medium of watercolour was particularly significant in relation to my ongoing interest in the relationship between reality and illusion, and fragility and permanence. The highly descriptive and realistically rendered images become largely dematerialised by the thin transparent aquarelle washes that stain the fibres of the paper. The fragility of the medium was further emphasised by displaying the works without protective frames. My interest in the relationship between craft and technology is evident in my overt reference to photographic processes as well as by contrasting my meticulously hand-rendered watercolour fragments against his digitally fabricated ink-jet prints (such as Traces of Maria).

Other works on exhibition included Transformed Identities, which comprised 36 fragments of culturally transformed body parts (such as piercing, tattooing and cicatrisation), Erogenous Identities and Imprinted Identities.

EROGENOUS IDENTITIES TRANSFORMED IDENTITIES IMPRINTED IDENTITIES