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Kim Morgan: Corpulence
Part of the charismatic artist Joseph Beuys’ (1921-1986) self-made legend was his story of having been shot down over the Crimea in 1943. The Tartars who found him wrapped him in fat and felt to restore his body heat. As a consequence of this experience, the artist frequently used fat as a sculptural material, both for its plasticity at various temperatures and for what he believed to be its healing properties.
Kim Morgan works with microscopic scans of lipids, which are organic molecules associated with cell surface membranes and human fat. She comments: I am interested in lipids as a metaphor. A skin. Fat as metaphor. Thus consumption (over-consumption) and energy (light). I started with Beuys as a point of departure and went from there. Fat has so many connotations in our society, it seemed the perfect film or surface to put over things.
Unlike Beuys’ shamanistic attitude toward fat as a bodily resource and art material, Morgan’s follows contemporary Western thinking on the subject. In place of fat itself, Corpulence displays highly mediated images of fat printed on plastic film, and by this means enables viewers to consider fat in the abstract, as a sort of guilty fetish in a society obsessed with thinness. The glittering chandelier radiates a monstrous voluptuousness, allowing the implied dangers of gluttony to compete on equal footing with the pleasures of self-indulgence.
Morgan received a B.A. in Literature from McGill University, a B.F.A. in Sculpture/Installation from The School of Visual Arts, NYC and an M.F.A. from the University of Regina. She teaches sculpture and installation at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, Halifax.