Helen Pynor: Confounding clear separations

If you happen to see Australian artist Helen Pynor near an art gallery carrying a large plastic cooler box, she's probably not fetching the white wine and canapés for a private view. But it would nevertheless be worth joining her as she enters the darkened space in front of an expectant audience and lifts out two fresh, clean and white-marbled pig hearts. They will have only moments ago have been obtained from an abattoir, picked by the artist from among the routinely spilled viscera still pulsating on the floor. The work she is about to perform, surrounded by an immersive, five-channel video of an underwater meeting of organ transplant recipients in a historic swimming pool, is entitled The Body is a Big Place. A collaboration with Melbourne-based artist Peta Clancy and sound artist Gail Priest, it first appeared in 2011 at the Performance Space in Sydney, received an Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica in Linz in 2012, and was then performed at Science Gallery Dublin and Galerija Kapelica, Ljubljana in 2013. It has also been exhibited at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung and the Baltic Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Arts in Kaliningrad, Russia in 2013.

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