Body Culture

Body culture is an interdisciplinary research exhibition relationship with their bodies within a culture of increased surveillance and body perfection. Artists exhibiting work have translated research findings of work by Dr Emma Rich, The University of Bath and colleagues from Loughborough University (Laura De-Pian, John Evans, Rachel Allwood) into forms of performance art, conceptual sculptures and photography. Amidst growing concerns about the rise in disordered eating and body dissatisfaction, this exhibition uses these various art forms to explore the impact of an increased focus on weighing, measuring and the surveillance on young people’s bodies.
 
Dr Emma Rich says about the research:
“In recent years the cultural imperative to be thin has been exacerbated by escalating concerns of a global obesity epidemic, the increased focus on health within various sites such as schools and media, and a consumer culture focused on the body beautiful. This exhibition raises critical questions about the measurement and surveillance of young peoples diets, size, shape and weight and the negative impact this can have on the relationship with their bodies, food and sense of self. Through the artists reflections on these issues we hope to be able to open up new spaces for people to think about body culture in contemporary contexts.”
 
The Body Culture exhibition was set up by Kerrie O’Connell in collaboration with Dr. Emma Rich, from the Department of Education, University of Bath. Kerrie is a Central Saint Martin’s Art student who set out to broden an understanding of academic research to wider audiences. Through her interest in ‘body culture’ she collaborated with Dr. Emma Rich in the Department of Education at at the University of Bath.
Kerrie O’Connell recalls:
“I wanted to capture the power art has to engage the viewer with issues surrounding body image and obesity thus hopefully inspire younger audiences about the possibilities of learning through art. As part of the Body Culture exhibition there will be workshops inviting local schools and colleges to attend on the 24th and 28th September 2011. The artists and workshop leaders are engaging young people in creative activities to explore the research and to document their thoughts using social media.”
The Bath Royal Science and Literary Institution is one of the finest gallery locations in Bath, on the west side of Queens Square between the Royal Crescent and Pump Rooms.
The exhibition will transfer to Coventry Herbert Museum in October 2011.

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