Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dan Guerrero / Blog 07 / Betty Hirst

     Heidi Hatry (aka Betty Hirst, among others) is a German-born artist whose work embodies a broad range of subjects and media. In order to pull off the range and subject matter of some of her works, she adopts alter egos to distance herself from the parallels or inferences critics and art viewers might make due to her heritage. Many of her alter egos take on a life of their own, and the artist modifies her body or appearance in order to flesh-out these personas. Meat is a common media in many of her works regardless the persona, and she uses it in various forms. From pigskin masks to busts and babies sculpted of meat, Hatry revels in meat’s impermanence and commonly shows her pieces unrefrigerated or otherwise unpreserved.

     The surrealism movement dealt with images provoked from a dream-like state or the unconscious, and as a result produced works of art that were full of strange juxtapositions. In 1936, Meret Oppenheim created one such juxtaposition by combining the practical and everyday of cup, saucer and spoon and covering them in animal fur. Her piece Le dejeuner en fourroure (Breakfast in fur) renders these mundane objects into a sensual, feminized and humorous work of art. Betty Hirst, in contrast, has turned the fur, in essence, inside out. Her cup spoon and saucer are covered in bacon and this meaty representation of objects serves to reveal the idea of what might lie under Oppenheim’s cup saucer and spoon if it were flayed open and on display for all to see.

in animal fur. Her piece Le dejeuner en fourroure

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