We've all seen things we wish we could un-see. Things that are violent, sad, or just plain gross. Most of us try to forget these unpleasant moments in our lives, but Brooklyn-based artist Tamara Kostianovsky embraces them and uses them as inspiration for show-stopping art. Kostianovsky grew up in Latin America in the 1970s - a time when Argentinian officials killed and kidnapped their political challengers. Later, she worked in a surgeon's office in Buenos Aires, seeing first-hand the blood, sinew, and muscle tissue that lie beneath our skin. Needless to say, meat has been a part of her life in many different forms. Now, Kostianovsky uses cast-off bits of clothing and fabric to recreate the carcasses she's seen in life, exorcising her demons through textile-based contemplation.
We have become so desensitized to the actuality of meat that we often think of it like a textile – simply a material to be cut, trimmed, and stitched into the form we desire. Kostianovsky’s work takes that thought process one step further, recreating stark, shocking sculptures of meat in various forms from clothing that’s been cast off by her family and friends.
“[In Buenos Aires,] I had the opportunity to see what is concealed behind the skin,” Kostianovsky told Fast Co. “I was fascinated with the way muscles, fat, and blood interacted, transforming small portions of the body into mesmerizing compositions of color, texture, and form. Even today, I continue to see the world through that lens.”
In the series of work, called Habeas corpus, dozens of sculptures of slaughtered animals are made out of used clothing. Each dead body hangs from an individual meat hook, presenting its image as almost frozen in time.
“While making these sculptures, I thought of the skinned and dismembered bodies of cattle that circulated daily through the meat markets of Argentina as ghosts or sacrificial lambs of a direct or indirect violence that reigned in the country during that time,” Kostianovsky remembers on her website.
“As individuals or when grouped together, these works speak of the missing bodies, standing in as the Habeas corpus ( the legal action that requires a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court) that was denied to the appalling number of casualties during the military regime.”
Unfortunately, this violent history isn’t limited to Argentina. All countries of the world have similar grisly skeletons in the closet. Kostianovsky’s work stands as a reminder of our physical natures, while reinforcing the knowledge that we are more than the skin and sinew that comprise our bodies.
via Fast Co. Design
All Images © Tamara Kostianovsky