Camberwell College of Arts
BA (Hons) Fine Art: Sculpture
Brody Mace-Hopkins is a multi-disciplinary artist working primarily with performance, sculpture and costume. Using monsters, they create allegories for queer narratives, primarily surrounding sexuality and ‘otherness’. The monsters act as a reflection on humanity and a confrontation to heteronormative constructs. Adapting religious iconography and myth, Brody’s work aims to break down the current myths created by a society informed by western religion and the repression of intrinsically human traits which millennia of religion has worked to demonise and ostracise. Also working with a focus on natural materials and an enthusiasm for the natural world, Brody aims to re-contextualise and reclaim human psychological and sexual traits historically deemed as ‘unnatural’. By creating monsters, hybrids and mythical creatures informed by natural elements and animals, their work attempts to offer an embodied experience of the natural world. They intend to break down the boundary between the self and the environment to create a discussion around humanities existence and the human condition. These philosophies manifest themselves through performances which carry out cathartic, tentative and ecstatic acts. These acts materialising themselves through rituals exploring life, death and rebirth through sacrifice and performed bodily transformation. Brody’s work centres around the self and in this way, they are often placed at the epicentre of these intimate and personal explorations. However as these are themes and issues which run through every persons life it is crucial to their practice to not only carry out solo performances but also to direct a team of performers and working in collaboration to better understand the nuances surrounding each persons experience of sexuality, otherness and existence. Through collaboration, a solidarity in otherness is formed and allowed to expand out to the audience, triumphantly exclaiming to the world who we are as people by reconciling with that which is projected onto the monster. Drawing on practices and deities predating western monotheism the work tries to recreate mythologies surrounding a holistic connection between self and environment and the God within everything as opposed to the God of everything. In the context of monotheism, people are given a figurehead, a divine and sole leader to which we look to like sheep to a shepherd. However polytheism creates representations for all aspects of the natural and human world. By using therianthropic hybrids and monsters within their work, Brody attempts to re-establish the divinity, spirituality and mysticism which each person embodies, whether they are aware of it or not. The work also acts to highlight our connection to this spirituality through our experience of the natural world, the place from which we were created and the place to which we will return. By using synthetic materials such as resin and silicone alongside organic or natural materials such as wool, clay and latex Brody creates a dynamic material narrative between the organic and the synthetic world. This offers contrast between the biodegradable, natural materials which can be reconstituted and the fixed, rigid nature of the materials developed by people which rely on irreversible chemical reactions to set. Once again there is an emphasis on fusion between the natural and the human world.
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