Naming the Abject in the works of Paul Quinn
I am also interested in Paul Quinns interpretation of the abject. Here, Quinn references the sexual and the animal. He does so, by synthesising body parts, which ooze bodily fluids, and constructs artificial animal skins with orifices in order to eroticise them .
The presence of the abject in his work is multifaceted. Firstly, Quinn refers to abject objects such as bodily fluids. Secondly, he extends the interpretation of the abject to the bestiality taboo. Thirdly he invokes the semiotic and calls the body of work "PhD Economics". The latter is a reference to the system of economics which commodifies the human experience and therefore, by merging it with abject objects, he invokes the systemic abject.
It is interesting to note here, that the economic absence of the mother and her maternal related work is best pronounced when one remarks that the only country in the world that gives mothers breast milk an economic value and includes it in its Gross Domestic Product is Papua New Guinea. Whilst commodification of the human experience is abhorrent, its absence from one specific area, such as mothers role and contribution in the economic sphere, becomes a symbol of denial.
Quinn chooses artificial material to create illusion in his work. It is as if to remove the signifier and to replace it with the signified through other media, is akin to holding up a mirror to the viewers' own abject experience. This forces the viewer to come face to face with their own maternal abject, which more often than not is buried beneath constructed assumptions.
This multilayering of seemingly incongruous ideas such as economics and bestiality, is of interest to me and the way I construct my work. The seductive and the repulsive, economics and sexual taboos all gather in the same image and create so much dialogue and tension that the image invokes in the viewer powerful and archaic emotions.
©2001 Mireille Astore
Back to Dissertation