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Joel-Peter Witkin

'Figure 1' Poussin in Hell, 1999

'Figure 2' Story from a Book, 1999

Photographer Joel-Peter Witkin uses strong graphic imagery to convey a sense of discomfort. He often uses dismembered bodies from morgues to manifest imaginings. Bestiality, death, decay, sexual gratification, dismembered and sexual indifference are commonplace in his work, he creates a transgressive, degradative domain.

I like the expression of death in his work, as I’m fascinated with the process of the human body, internally and externally, ‘Degradation here means coming down to earth, and contract with the earth and an element that swallows up and gives birth at the same time. To degrade is to bury, to sow, and to kill simultaneously, in order to bring forth something more and better. To degrade also means to concern oneself with the lower stratum of the body, the life of the belly and the reproductive organs; it therefore relates to acts of defecation and copulation, conception, pregnancy, and birth. Degradation digs a bodily grave for a new birth; it has not only a destructive, negative aspect, but also a regenerating one’ (Bakhtin 1984: 19-21).


1:10 PM on Tuesday 13th November 2012 with 19 notes and Comments

tagged: Joel-Peter Witkin Degradation Transgressive

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