Apart / A Part - The Abject (Page 3/3)


 
But that word, "fear"- a fluid haze an elusive clamminess- no sooner has it cropped up than it shades off like a mirage and permeates all words of the language with nonexistence, with a hallucinatory, ghostly glimmer. (Kristeva 1982:6)
 

 
The Abject resides where the sublime meets horror, evoking a deep-seated fear, a dread of the incomprehensible, and the uncanny. The viewer cannot help but be enthralled by the abject, it is a part of human nature: Kristeva’s (1982) concept of becoming corpse as ultimate abjection, corresponds to Burke’s (1844) philosophical enquiry into the sublime in that the sublime essentially evokes overwhelming feelings of dread and melancholy in its terrifying infinity (De Jager 2019:85).

The pandemic conjured up images of death, and destruction. In the works of Hieronymus Bosch, Peter Bruegel the Elder and more recently David Wojnarowicz, these artists grappled with making sense not only of our finitude, but of death on a grand scale. Artists working during the pandemic turned to the abject as a means of trying to make sense of the horror of global loss. The selection refrains from literal masked (be they gas or surgical masks) depictions, instead artists who invoke the uncanny, the strange as symbol for these strange times, were invited to exhibit works which speaks to horror on a conceptual and symbolic level.
 


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