Phantom Bodies: Photographs by Tanya MarcuseTuesday September 29, 2015 - Sunday December 13, 2015
Closed October 24–27 and November 23–29
The exhibition Phantom Bodies: Photographs by Tanya Marcuse brings together haunting works evoking absent bodies, created in two series, Undergarments and Armor (2002–2004) and Wax Bodies (2006–2008).
For Undergarments and Armor, Marcuse traveled to archives and museums in the United States and England, where she photographed breastplates, helmets, corsets, bustles, mannequins, and the dress forms that populate storerooms. Seen together, these platinum prints suggest opposing categories: armor/underwear, male/female, hard/soft, armed/disarmed, presence/absence. These empty garments recall the unruly human bodies that were once contained and protected, and the ways in which gender was constructed and performed. The bodies have turned to dust, but the armor and the underwear remain as memento mori.
For Wax Bodies, Marcuse photographed the 18th-century Italian anatomical models in two little-known museum collections, La Specola in Florence and the Josephinum in Vienna. Referred to as “phantom bodies,” these wax models were made to teach new scientific knowledge of anatomy, childbirth, and disease. With her subtle images, Marcuse explores the tension between the Enlightenment ideal of objective science and the artistry and rapture of the Baroque.
Tanya Marcuse received an MFA from Yale University and has been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship, among other honors. She has published three books with Nazraeli Press: Undergarments and Armor (2005), Fruitless (2007), and Wax Bodies (2012). Marcuse’s photographs are included in numerous museum collections including those of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the George Eastman House. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at the International Center for Photography in New York, the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum in Dresden, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, and the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She is represented by Julie Saul Gallery, New York, where she recently had a solo exhibition, Fallen.