Elaine Wilson corps-A-Corps
50 x 23 x 23cm
35 x 18 x1 6cm
Corps A Corps
50 x 23 x 23cm
Eye-to Claw-to Beak 2017
36 x 13 x 13cm
Knowing You are Near 2018
2:52mins video film with sound
Open from 9th November - 2ND December
Elaine Wilson’s Corps-A-Corps introduces a new body of work that explores themes around body, vigilance, combat, the gendered vision of power and control.
Wilson’s Eye-to-Claw-to Beak series of ceramic and steel watchtowers are sourced from different cultures around the world…with strategically placed viewing slots to enable constant surveillance over a 360 degree radius. Looking at these works as objects endowed with the capacity for watching become symbolic totems of control, not unlike our CCTV-society where watching gives knowledge and knowledge is power but we wonder what might be done with that. With form so closely following function, Wilson’s omniscient watchtowers radiate with sinister desire.
A link can be made to philosopher Michel Foucault’s theorization of the panopticon. This term was first given by Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century to his design of an all-seeing tower centrally located in a prison complex so inmates would believe they were being observed at all times, even if they weren’t. Foucault saw the panopticon as widely symbolic of forms of social power that function though vision to control people.
By entangling her viewers into these refracted networks of gazes, Wilson perhaps envisions a means to redress power relations by showing there is nowhere to hide for the oppressors of women.
Power, Gender and the Panoptical Gaze
in Elaine Wilson’s new work
by Abi Shapiro
A hybrid being.
A woman fused with a house.
She stands upright, tense. Her lower half is exposed, legs clenched at the ankles, calves, knees,
with thighs pressed into a seam to her pudendum. Her torso and head are a building.
She has open windows and doorways for breasts, eyes, nose, mouth, and ears.
One small arm hangs limply at her side, the other timidly raised to the sky.
“I am here. Can you see me?
Eye-to-Claw to Beak
The bird of prey knows what it knows only in a system built from desire’s instances, maintained in
the expectation of desire’s satiation: a hawk-eye sees with the arrogance of only the particular of
what it wants, not the whole of what is.
Anne Boyer, poet and essayist
Excerpt ‘When the Lambs Rise up Against the Birds of Prey'.