Abject Art

Abject Art

Abject art explores themes that challenge and disrupt our notions of cleanliness and propriety, often involving the body and bodily functions.

The term ‘abjection’ literally means ‘the state of being cast off’. It represents a multifaceted psychological, philosophical, and linguistic concept introduced by Julia Kristeva in her 1980 book Powers of Horror.

Her ideas were partly influenced by the earlier thoughts of the French writer and surrealist dissident, Georges Bataille. Kristeva herself noted, "refuse and corpses show me what I permanently thrust aside in order to live." In practice, ‘the abject’ encompasses all bodily functions or aspects of the body that society considers impure or unsuitable for public discussion or display.

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Parra's studio, with Parra at the centre, his back to the camera as he works on the large painting takes centre stage, showing a faceless blue woman in a striped dress, painted in red, purple, blue and teal. The studio is full of brightly coloured paints, with a large window on the right and a patterned rug across the floor under the painting.