Trying Not To Break Things [Images]
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Schrag, A. & Finbow, A. (2017) Trying Not To Break Things [Images].
These images try to encompass the dramatic impact that small actions can have on someone with osteoporosis, illustrating pain, frustration and the limitations of the body. They are not meant as a representation of real-life situations, but are instead an exaggerated response to an Osteoporosis Workshop that artists Finbow and Schrag ran for Front-line Nursing staff, Health Care Assistants and Health Care Academics The aim of the workshop was to bring new ideas and ways of thinking about working with patients who have or may have Osteoporosis. Part of this process involved the participants creating tissue paper exoskeletons in order to visualise the breaking/snapping of bone, but also to the emotions related to tearing/breaking, as well as the sense of fragility of the body. Finbow and Schrag were particularly drawn to the aesthetics of the broken exoskeletons. Drawing on their collaborative practice of Performance-For-Camera, they developed a series of images of Schrag seeming to fall/collapse/break. These images are highly dramatic and exaggerated: they bring a sense of bemusement, playfulness, drama, empathy and comedy to the viewer, drawing them in to the images and making them ask questions. The faint- or collapsed body has been used throughout Art History. Most often, it is women depicted in these broken- states: men are rarely shown in this manner, and when they are, it is often suggested that their condition is much more serious. Women are four times more likely than men to have Osteoporosis, but all of us are affected by it. In using Schrag as a male figure in the work, it reminds us of our inter-connections to this disease. Most often than not, within 18th Century paintings in which someone has collapsed/fainted, they are depicted in domestic environments. Similarly, many of the falls/breaks that occur to people with Osteoporosis happen in their homes, or doing simple tasks such as putting on shoes or taking off a coat. The images Finbow and Schrag have developed similarly occur in a domestic sphere and aim to give an empathetic reminder of the difficulty of the condition and the complexities of its occurrence.