Alien Bodies - Abjection and Posthumanism in Surrealist Art

Abject art describes works that represent something that is deemed to be outside of ‘civilized norm’, that may trigger disgust, phobia. Abjection was first described by psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva, but it has its roots in Surrealism, as the first artworks that fall into this category were created by Surrealist artist, Hans Bellmer (1902-75).

Abjection is still relevant in contemporary culture-–, moreover, with the appearance of posthumanist studies, it became a contemporary issue.
Sculptures of artists such as Berlinde de Bruyckere, Kiki Smith, Pakui Hardware, Ivana Bašić etc. are all anthropomorphic creatures that move through the boundaries of what we think as ‘human’. As Donna Haraway writes, “by the late twentieth century, our time, a mythic time, we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs”,(An ironic dream of a common language for women in the integrated circuit p.15) and if we are not then we’re just not yet cyborgs. Life is becoming more and more dependent on outer resources that alters humans and bodies from what was once “natural”.

In my paper I’ll investigate the relationship between different transforming human bodies in (contemporary, and 20th century) sculptural practice while reflecting on the different aspects of “human”, its boundaries, and its uncanny symbiotic relationship with others, all held together by a melancholic sense of uncertainty.