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"Bodyscapes" (2013-) by Carl Warner

What happens when an artist interprets the concept of ‘body building’ in a uniquely poetic way?

The result can be found in Carl Warner’s intriguing series of photo enhancements named Bodyscapes. Globally renowned as a food artist, Warner here turns his distinctive talents for re-creating scenery from cauliflower to muscle mass. With shrewd titles like Elbow Point and Desert of Sleeping Men, the works depict multiple angles of the same model’s anatomy, imaginatively compositing fleshy curves into illusory geography. The process requires both sketched preparation and quick improvisation, as the actual shooting with a model always leads the artist to discover compelling new shapes.

I really enjoyed how the images were able to desexualise the human physique and put a novel reversal on our tendency to anthropomorphise our environment. It’s also remarkable how a collective and commercial obsession with the perfect body loses some of its destructive power when we’re shown limbs and ligaments in such a deconstructed way. I hope in future entries Carl can push things even further and explore the abstract beauty of our flaws. For when birthmarks can be meadows and pimples abstract rock formations, can there then be a new light shed on those perfect imperfections? Something to ponder as I’ll leave you with the artist’s own wise words on the series:"I see the body as a vehicle that is gradually worn down by age, carrying the scars of our journey through this life like a map. Whether they are looked after, abused, adored, drawn on, pampered or poisoned, they are often a record of how we have lived, and therefore offer an alternate form of portraiture. The external view of ourselves in this way becomes a more abstract and intimate reflection of ourselves, and when given a sense of place, it plays on the idea of the inner space in which we dwell".

Carl Warner


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