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which indicates transience.26 On the other hand the body hairs themselves are transient. Once they fall from the body, they start to dry out and reduce in size. The body hairs discovered on the urinals represent a trace of a recently present body. It is predictable to see body hair in public spaces, on urinals, but when body hair moves into the field of art they function as alien.27 Today we can treat body hair in the field of dichotomy between nature and culture. We can assume that the natural function of the body hair was to protect the skin from the external influences such as cold and mechanical injuries. In the field of culture the demand for an artificially created body without body hair is linked mainly to the female, and consequentially also to the male body.28 Smooth skin without body hair reminds us of beautiful young bodies: they are aesthetic and clean. By removing the body hair the body becomes denaturalised and loses one of its identities.29 An 26 The contemporary society tries to avoid transience. The entire advertising imagery raises the desire for eternal youth and a long life. 27 Fountain and Urinal can merely interpretationally be linked to the feeling of discomfort that they cause once the urinals are moved into the gallery, while Lost & found are photographs of urinals that are in public use – the discomfort in this concept always occurs with the move of a common practice into the gallery space, where it becomes unusual/controversial. 28 At the Lost & found exhibition (2007, Galerija v izložbi, Kranj) the works of art encountered the unprepared passersby and turned them into visitors of the exhibition – as a response three photographs of a shaved naked male body were pushed into the shop window. The photographs were A4 format and if the date of production was to be believed they must have belonged to the intruder’s archive. In the second work from the Lost & found cycle (2010/11, Sculpture Association Gallery) the body hair, taken from the urinals, was placed onto gilded coins. 29 Stopping shaving can represent an assertion of one’s identity, and only then a rebellion against the social norms.

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unshaven body can appear neglected or brutal. In the case of male bodies the lost and found body hair testifies on the physicality that has become hidden due to our social conventions of dressing. A discovered body hair is implanted into the fields of taboo of the body and gender. Lost & found is not a subversive work merely due to its exchange of the view on body hair through a medium with the actual view of the body hair. It is also subversive in the fact that it reflectively contains violence – it places an intimate presence of unknown foreign bodies into a public space. Thus it is imposed upon the viewer who has to deal with his own prejudices.


13.1.2014 23:53:27

Corpus indeterminata  

Opus Corpus indeterminata by artist Zoran Srdić Janežič