January 19 – Mar 10 2018
EX-VOTO the body + the institution – Galway Arts Centre
“the cataclysm which was my body…this dislocated assemblage, this piece of damaged geology.”The Peyote Dance, Antonin Artaud
Ex-Voto is a group exhibition that addresses the colonisation of the human body, the treatment of the body by State, corporate, medical and pharmaceutical institutions.This exhibition also explores the subjective experiences of health and illness in the context of institutions. The relationship between Institution and the individual, the role of power and the impact of capitalism and commerce are investigated in works by five contemporary visual artists and a writer.
The exhibition frames the artist as witness, mirroring Michel Foucault’s theories in The Birth of the Clinic, that clinical medicine is fundamentally an encounter between people. Michel Foucault’s The Birth of the Clinic addressed the patient’s corporeal experience and vulnerability in the context of modern medicine:”The presence of disease in the body, with its tensions & its burnings, the silent world of the entrails, the whole dark underside of the body lined with endless unseeing dreams, are challenged as to their objectivity by the reductive discourse of the doctor, as well as established as multiple objects meeting his positive gaze.” (Foucault, The Birth of the Clinic xi).