Image: Tom Thistlethwaite
8 July - 23 August 2015
Fragility was a new site-specific work commissioned by Fabrica from Macedonian born and now Brighton resident, Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva.
A series of delicate veils filled the central atrium of Fabrica’s building, a former church: rising from floor to ceiling, diffusing the light, obscuring the way forward. Two narrow passages, carefully pierced through the veined walls, invited us in. At the centre of the work one clear viewpoint toward the filtered light from the main window was revealed, an experience the artist compared to the flash of light reportedly observed when close to death.
Fragility, like much of the artist’s work over the past decade, re-appropriated animal viscera. In this instance caul fat, a membrane that holds the vital organs together, was transformed from a perishable waste product of the pork industry into a sublimely beautiful translucent material via a lengthy chemical process akin to embalming.
Beyond its sensory impact, much of the pleasure in the work lay in understanding its inherent contradictions: the disconnect between the initial state of the material and its aesthetically pleasing result; the artist’s need to witness decay and her effort to halt it, and her desire to bury the viewer in a corporeal labyrinth whilst all the time suggesting a dimension beyond the physical.