ESSAY ON ‘GRAVITY IS ONLY A THEORY SAYS THE BUTTERFLY | BY EUGENE YIU NAM CHEUNG

‘Art has always been concerned with flesh and emotion – the ritual between movement and feeling. Artists have the ability to affirm the body as a spectre of recognition: a place that invites contemplation yet stirs concern.

Gravity is Only a Theory says the Butterfly is an affirmation of our seemingly contradictory relationship with the body, an exploration of different textures and ideologies. Flesh is juxtaposed against steel frames, an arrangement that appears at first glance to stifle the organic movement of the body, though in fact stirs questions about the controls imputed onto the human figure.

Compositionally, there is great conviction. Antoni has directed the body in a sequence of poses that are as dynamic as they are still, limbs and muscle clearly in flux but captured perfectly in varied states of transition. The emotive dimension to these photographs is heightened by Finlayson’s controlled placement of ink stains, chalk and even berry juice – an attempt to arouse memories associated with touch, presence and ephemerality. Together, both Antoni and Finlayson promote the eternal fascination society has with the body, but more importantly suggest that it is the idea of continuity and change that ought to define the true judgment of its beauty.

The title of the exhibition conjures in itself a sense of being ‘in-between.’ The body is synonymised with the dance of butterflies caught in a time lapse, a perpetual rise and fall where completeness is sought but never achieved. In other words, accepting the body’s incompleteness becomes paramount to the exhibition. As a result, Gravity is Only a Theory says the Butterfly is an exploration of freedom, confinement and the evolution of the human figure itself. It is an investigation of the physical through the emotional, allowing both Antoni and Finlayson to unpack ideas surrounding growth and decay which lies at the heart of our fascination with the body and its splendour in nature.’

-Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung (@yiunamcheung)

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