Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Blood-Stained Porcelains and Flesh-Covered Furniture of Jessica Harrison


When I think of mediums that are often used to depict gore, I think either in terms of materials used for movie special effects or for monster action figures and model kits. Of those materials, porcelain dolls and miniature furniture never crossed my mind ... until now.


Meet artist/sculptor Jessica Harrison. To say that Harrison's work is focused on the relationship between living bodies and inanimate objects, between the organic and inorganic, is putting it mildly. On the one hand, there are Harrison's porcelain figures, as they are described by Anne B. Kelly in a recent piece for the Huffington Post:

In the hands of Edinburgh-based artist and sculptor Jessica Harrison, maidens turn themselves inside-out, entrails spilling on porcelain petticoats. ... Her fancy figurine ladies-in-peril are reconstituted from found mass-produced porcelains, at once allowing the viewer both a sense familiarity of the precious and a tinge of hardcore gore. ... Her choice of the delicate female body contradicts the traditional use of the male figure historically used in sculpture, and with internal organs on display, proves that on the inside, we all look the same.

Then there are the pieces of miniature furniture that look like they were grown, not built. Again, from Kelly's post:

For her miniature furniture pieces, (Harrison) embraces the feel of the flesh even more literally. When asked what media and methods are used to create them she replies, "The furniture pieces are cast from the palms of my hands so the fingerprints you see covering them are mine. It is not real skin, but it is real hair. I experimented for a long time with different materials to get something that looked as close to skin as possible so I can't give away my secret recipe... [They] are particularly unsettling as they can fit so snugly in the hand or in other crevices of the body. This makes them seem more monstrous perhaps than if they were full-scale furniture pieces--the fact that they camouflage so well into your own body. You have to get really close to miniatures so you can get a good look at them and by then it is too late, they are already right next to you before you realize you are looking at skin, hair and teeth."
Click below to see more pictures of Harrison's figures and furniture miniatures. Note: These figures are not action figures based on Seth Grahame-Smith's Jane Austen-themed parody novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. (Then again, it would be super-awesome if they were.)









If David Cronenberg ever decided to build a dollhouse, he would certainly furnish it with Harrison's miniatures. They would be perfect accessories for Brundlefly Barbies and Max Renn Ken dolls, wouldn't they?

Click here to see more of Harrison's work at her site, which also includes other forms of sculpture and two dimensional art. Also check out Anne B. Kelly’s Female Persuasion blog for more information about other provocative female artists.



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