Activities, exhibitions and projects

Alicia Framis. Is my body public?

Alicia Framis. Is my body public?

Juana de Aizpuru Gallery

Image: Alicia Framis, ¿Es mi cuerpo público? Is my body public?, 2018 - Courtesy of Juan de Aizpuru Gallery

This exhibition presents two new works of interdisciplinary artist Alicia Framis (1967 Barcelona, Spain).

Is My Body Public discusses women’s rights in today’s society and questions to what extent our bodies belong to the public or private realm. The work can be seen as a call for action, demonstration and reflection. With the interactive Room of Changes Framis thinks of innovative ways to use technology to unite people and create understanding amongst people.

Is My Body Public is a new art work and fashion collection created by Framis. For this work Framis has designed a new collection of dresses in which she explores the borders of that which is private and that which is public. The aesthetics of the dresses resemble that of lingerie, a material usually associated with the private realm. The dresses are made from thin transparent fabrics, but are at the same time banners for public demonstration and used as such. The dresses carry a strong message embroidered onto them. Is My Body Public ask each of the 15 dresses, in 15 different languages. With the work, Framis wants to represent this issue that women deal with worldwide.

With Is My Body Public Framis questions what is public and what is still private in today’s world. The issues of privacy and body politics Framis discusses in this work take on a different, more specific meaning for women. Women in many countries worldwide are still not allowed to make decisions that concern their body, for example in places where women have to obey certain dressing rules or codes. At the same time women’s bodies, appearances and ways of dressing seem to be a subject that the public, in particular men, think they can publically comment on or critique however they like, for instance by harassing women in the streets. Women’s bodies in these cases seem to be viewed as public property.

In many places in the world women are not able to undergo legal, safe abortions and in many places where this is possible women are judged for doing so. Here again others, often men, are deciding over women’s bodies and their sexual and reproductive rights. The dresses offer a tool for women to explore different, playful ways of demonstrating important issues such as (systematic) sexism.

For Alicia Framis active participation of the public and social interaction between people is something she has been researching ever since the beginning of her artistic practice in the 1990s. Social relationships are a defining factor in the work of Alicia Framis also true for her work The Room of Changes, which literally becomes an artwork when two people step inside the room and embrace. This non-verbal interaction between two people, this physical connection, makes for a unique symphony of lights to appear. Each embrace or touch will create a different set of lights, with different intensity, and a different time frame. The energies of the people make for the work to light up and become alive. Once the people leave the room, the work is gone and is open for new interpretations, for new energies and connections between different people.

With The Room of Changes Framis wants to encourage human contact in a world where this is being replaced more and more with digital communication. The work can also be considered as a comment on the nature of human interaction in our current society. Besides encouraging people to embrace one another and show affection, Framis likes us to embrace different ways of thinking and living. She invites people to embrace not only those one knows, but also to embrace the ‘other’. With the work Framis reflects not only on technological changes in our current society but also on social and political ones. The work is meant to connect people with different backgrounds and different moral, religious, and political outlooks. Framis in this work looks for ways to transmit emotion through technology. Stepping inside the room is like overcoming a fear, a fear of the unknown. Stepping inside allows for the audience to change the physical architecture of the room and their own mental architecture of the world.

Nina Svenson

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