above – Neil Hamon, ‘Invasion’
Bodysnatchers 4 – 27 march
With Cees Krijnen, Jay Cloth, Neil Hamon and Euan Stewart, the show is concerned with the fragility of the body and the concomitant mutability of identity. In the moments it can take for the body to be changed by accident, disease or attack, the person the body has enveloped can have become someone quite different.
Stewart offers the template, a black museum of the potential, each part of the body tagged with the possible horrors it’s prey to. Krijnen, the starting point of the show, displays himself, life-size, with the wound he suffered in an actual attack last year. Jay Cloth and Hamon move us into the safer region of art. Here the damage done to the body is merely formal, a simple matter of cut-and-paste, modifying the signifier and not the signified. All the more terrifying for that, naturally. Jay Cloth mutilates the human image to bring forth collaged sacred monsters, while Hamon’s film underpins the message of the whole show: the aliens dormant in the Bodysnatcher pods are unwelcome replacements for the people we thought we were.
From the space delineated in chalk on the floor of a murder scene, to the identikit assemblage of features aimed at tracking down the perpetrator, from the character assessment of the victim to the clinical analysis of the wounds, each artist supplies a modus operandi for different aspects of the crime of life.
Medicine exists to repair the body under attack, the detective/doctor/artist to divine and the police/army to fight/prevent the cause. These artists record a timely reminder, a warning of the existential threat to our being that can overwhelm us in seconds.