Installation, diameter 250 cm, materials : Cast pelvic bones, femurs and objects, Jesmonite.
Sally de Courcy's practice uses the casting process to make many repetitions of objects. These objects, which relate metaphorically or literally, are hidden within an abstract arrangement. As the viewer recognizes the contextual links between the objects, a narrative is revealed.
After working in a refugee camp she is interested in human rights and much of her work stands for those who are dehumanized as a result of atrocities that occur in war and terrorism. History, like her work, repeats itself and the philosophical reasons for this repetition of violence have been a major part of her research and this extends her focus on repetition.
Judith Butler’s books 'Precarious Lives' and 'Frames of War' and the concept that some people are treated as less than human or “walked over” by others has, together with her own past experience, inspired Sally's recent series of work.
She has used modern bodily objects, such as bones, sex toys, weapons and children’s toys. These are used metaphorically to represent different aspects of war atrocities (as in the UN and UK House of Lords definitions).
'Precarious Lives' uses a pelvic bone to bridge the artists's past medical experiences at a refugee camp in Thailand and Patpong the red light district in Bangkok. The pelvis is penetrated in sex but also reveals itself in death.
There is a conflict between the pleasurable objectification that can occur in loving sex and the repugnant brutality of sexual abuse and exploitation, the difference is agency.
The refugee camp also drew attention to objectification and agency. Genocide, murder is the ultimate objectification of people. In death we are reduced to flesh and bone - a carcass. In time all that is left of the only visible memory of what was once a thinking loving person is bone.
In Precarious Lives objects are petrified to resemble bone. Bones were the first human tools. Making these objects into remains objectifies them in the same way that we are objectified in death. One could argue that guns, grenades, and sex toys are already objects but by rendering into bone it creates a level playing field of traces, memory and loss.