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Exquisite Corpus: Interacting with the Fragmented Body

Head, Heart, Arms, Legs: what happens to the human body when it is both formally and conceptually dissected? In this year’s History of Art Majors’ Society exhibition, the human body is aesthetically analyzed, as well as formally dissected, in order to reorient the ways in which we perceive, approach, and represent our own organically complex, life-giving forms.

Exquisite Corpus includes an array of viewer-dependent, interactive works of art. These works directly confront the spectator, forcing him or her to immediately confront the ways in which he or she perceives, understands, and ultimately uses the mind, hand, and overall frame. Interactivity is essential for a show like Exquisite Corpus because it helps to remind the visitor that he or she has never been able to perceive his or her body in the way that it exists in the real world; one cannot simultaneously view front and back sides of the body, nor witness the millions of processes, exchanges, and interactions that take place within its biological interior.

Throughout this exhibition, the fractured body is represented via depictions of pleasure, objecthood, minimalism, privacy, and technology; specificities of the figure, the form, and the physical (as well as the socially informed understanding of decency, modesty, and the objectified body) stage themselves with the help of carefully selected and influential works of art.

In the end, Exquisite Corpus: Interacting with the Fragmented Body attempts to reframe the systematized organism that is the human body. The exhibition promotes corporeal self-awareness and shows how artistic expression can serve as the perfect device to elucidate, beautify, and ultimately rephrase our understanding of the human physique.

This exhibition is funded in part by a grant from the Cornell Council for the Arts and a generous gift from Betsey and Alan Harris.

2007–2008 History of Art Majors’ Society
Laurel Garber
Stefanie Hirsch
Sarah Humphreville
Marie MacDougall
Rachel Mattes
Alexandra Olson
Sammy Perlmutter
Kristen Ross
Jamie Smith