Dependable Bodies

Research output: Non-Textual OutputExhibition


Dependable Bodies is an editioned etching, first exhibited in the A Foreign Encounter exhibition (2015) curated by Wolfgang Weileder at Galerie FOE 156, Munich, Germany and subsequently in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (2016), London, UK and The Vagaries and Misconceptions of the Modern Man exhibition (2018), Vane Gallery, Newcastle, UK. Prints from this edition are held in various private collections in the UK, Germany and China.

Dependable Bodies is one in a series of three etchings (alongside Unalloyed Bodies and Unincorporated Bodies) all set within an Arcadian landscape. A skeletal creature – with clear signs of mutation and imperfection – examines the idealised form of male legs and genitals. Hollow, these legs suggest an invitation to be inhabited, to be animated; but simultaneously point to a façade or superficiality. Behind this interaction a putto or cherub hovers, waiting to offer some form of dressing and anointment.

The conceptual basis for the print Dependable Bodies and its connection to other aspects of the wider research was discussed as part of the conference paper Fit for Purpose: The Classical Millstone, the Classical Touchstone presented at the Art, Classicism and Discourse from 1755 to Today conference at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK in 2019. In this instance the artwork was positioned in relation to a discussion of male body image, specifically that of gym culture with its core concept of a stabilised body set against the transgressive ‘lived’ or fragmented body.

The ‘Bodies’ series of etchings itself forms part of an ongoing wider body of research, primarily sculpture, titled No More Heroes which deploys the classical tradition within sculpture to explore contemporary issues relating to the body: bio-engineering, the increasing plurality of body ideals, stereotypical male activities and behaviours etc. This research also engages with recent debates around the relationships between sculpture, the museum, tourism and social media.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2015


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