Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Reviews from the Crypt #3: Zita Weelius

Title: Blood and beauty
Artist: Zita Weelius
Exhibition: Is there life after size 16?
Where: Annex Gallery, Lion Arts Centre
When: February 1994

The Annex Gallery is a small room within the Lion Arts centre. Zita Weelius has used her limited space well for a pithy installation.

Dolls, of various sizes, hang from the ceiling by fishing wire. Most of their limbs and heads have been torn off. Surgical cut-marks are rudely sketched around the dolls’ genitals. All of them are draped in green surgical cloth. On the white floor, in a chess pattern, are photocopies of breasts. Above the surgical table hangs a light which has been encased by the cover of a Cleo magazine: the misguiding light of stereotypes, perhaps? The room is full of smoky, pungent incense.

Weelius, who has worked as a general and psychiatric nurse, told me that a “new age of aesthetic surgery is upon us. Females read women’s magazines as Bibles, which promote eternal beauty as possible, through aesthetic surgery; a new religion has begun.” Seemingly, the surgical table has become an altar, and like angels, its subjects float either to, or from it. The Barbie doll, that icon of unattainable beauty, hangs whole; the Archangel of the religion of beauty, with her luminous blonde hair crowning her empty head like a halo.

This work intrigued me. I found myself constantly going back to it. It was so simple, so eloquent and concise. Her message, a topical one, has been successfully conveyed.

-- Wow! Great conclusion Mike!

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