Andrea Hasler's Boob Bonanza
The installation <i>Full-fat or semi-skinned?</i> doesn't display breasts in the way you typically see them.
I'm pretty keen on breasts, and to be honest, who in their rightful mind isn't? Considering that most of us are initially bread on boob-milk, living in a society increasingly obsessing with boobs, let's agree on that these nipple-crowned meatloaves are simply magical, regardless of shape and style.
Personally, I think that breasts are in themselves a form of art, or very much an inspiration for art. London-based artist Andrea Hasler seems to agree. Her current exhibition – read boob bonanza – at Galleri Bon in Stockholm called Full-fat or semi-skinned? deals with just that.
Hasler's exhibition is an enchanting assortment of fleshy goodness, with pieces such as blinged out boob implants installed in a huge breast machine. This got me excited. So I got in touch with Hasler to find out more about the inspiration behind her work.
Andrea Hasler. All photos by Fredrik Andersson Andersson
VICE: So could you explain what this exhibition is about?
Andrea Hasler: For me, Galleri Bon's link with Bon Magazine's position as a fashion magazine has always been of great interest, so I knew early on that I wanted to create an installation for Galleri Bon, which reflects fashion, the body, and beauty craze. So I came up with the installation Full-fat or semi-skinned?
Why the name, Full-fat or semi-skinned?
The title references two types of milk. For the latter one, the correct spelling would be semi-skimmed, which I changed to semi-skinned, as in 'half the skin taken of one's body' which is an indication to the body transformation that the installation touches on as well as milk being the archaic first form of nutrition from our mothers breasts.
What's your fascination with breasts anyway?
In my work, I have always been particularly drawn to the body, how to depict the emotional body and working with skin as the physical element that divides the Self from the Other, as well as the potential container for both and what happens if you open up those boundaries.
All of this forms part of – where I play with visions of the future – scenes of surgical fetishes and glamour and unsettle the viewer with images of carefully staged and naturalistic wax reproduction of human organs in form of luxury fetish.
Do you have a preference when it comes to breasts?
Alright. Can you explain the breast-machine?
The installation Full-fat or Semi-skinned? represents in its entirety a kind of luxurious breast machine that blurs the boundaries between inside and outside of the body. In the middle of the installation, the viewer is confronted with what looks like a kind of primary 'mother' organ, disturbing with its repulsive, lumpy and hairy appearance at the same time as seducing with its glittering diamonds, all placed on a gold sparkling surface that stretches the entire space taking on the notion of a fashion show catwalk.
From large, close up photographs – that resemble body cosmetic surgery procedures – grow plastic tubes adorn with the diamond-encrusted initials of a world-renowned luxury brand, claiming exclusivity and uniqueness. Everything displayed in the installation is connected with milk tubes from which luxury baby bottle teats invite sucking. The primary 'mother' organ nourishes everything within its reach and thus guarantees the immediate usability of all breast parts displayed close by.
It seems that you like to make art that resembles flesh, but taken out of its context, if I'm right – why is that? And how did it come to that?
I am fascinated with the psychological aspect of the body and its emotional link to 'Abject', the borderline of inside/outside, something that is aesthetically desirable, yet revolting and were viewer's attraction are replaced by repulsion, power and control. In my work I dissect moral concepts generated by the media and deeply entrenched assumptions in every individual without reassembling the dissected, separated and ornamented pieces into a new or different whole – thus my work confronts the viewer with his or her own feelings.
Cronenberg's movies as well as Alejandro Jodorowsky's Holy Mountain and Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle, have highly influenced me, as well as artist such as Berlinde De Bruyckere, John Isaacs, Patricia Piccinini and Louise Bourgeoise. I spend a lot of time in medical libraries, as I have always been very fascinated by Anatomical wax models to illustrate various medical conditions. In the 1800s moulages (waxes showing injuries or pathological change in the body) often formed part of travelling shows across Europe; part entertainment, part public health education!
It's the first time you are having an exhibition in Scandinavia. Why is that and why have you decided to do it now?
I have exhibited widely internally and it felt like a good timing to show the Full-fat or semi-skinned? installation with Galleri Bon now. I am looking forward to future exhibitions in Scandinavia.
Andrea Hasler's Full-fat or semi-skinned? is currently on at Galleri Bon, Högbergsgatan 18 in Stockholm, Sweden, and will run until November 23. See more of Hasler's work here.