Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Body of Inquiry

The last few blog posts have been a bit disturbing--first a woman being flayed alive, and then poor Molly Goosey being served up for Thanksgiving dinner. So its time for something a little more empowering: a reclaiming of the body. Inspired by an anatomical model, "Torso Woman," Casey Gardner created a stunning triptych flap-book, Body of Inquiry (Berkeley: Casey Gardner: Set in Motion Press: Still Wild Books, 2011). The book harkens back to historical flap books like this 1702 edition in our collections (Remmelin's Survey of the Microcosme, or the Anatomy of the Bodies of Man and Woman) to create a new understanding of the politics of the body.

In Gardner's hands the flaps do more than reveal the basic anatomy of her subject. They provide the author with an opportunity to meditate on life, the body and its many parts, and the literal and metaphoric meanings attached to those parts.

Interestingly, Remmelin originally created his flap books for the use of "Physicians, Chyrurgeons, Statuaries, Painters, etc." Over 300 years later, an artist has successfully taken him up on his offer.

To see Body of Inquiry, ask for Presses S492bod. The Survey of the Microcosme is Rare QM21 .R4513.

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