Andrea Hasler has spent the last few months making meat sculptures. The London-based, Zurich-born artist recently completed her latest work, titled Embrace the Base — a collection of pieces that, like much of her work, explore the tension between beauty and repulsion.
Hasler began her project in August 2013, after being commissioned by New Greenham Arts in Berkshire, England. In the 1980s, a group of women staged a massive and long-standing demonstration at Greenham Common to protest against the nuclear weapons that were stored there at the time. The tents Hasler constructed are reminiscent of those that housed the protesters, though they have a distinctly human, fleshlike aesthetic.
As the artist explains in a series of videos about the project, the pieces were sculpted out of fiberglass and covered in wax, giving them a pinkish, intestine-like hue. The larger igloo tent opens up to the viewer, with its "guts" almost flowing out onto the floor, while its smaller counterpart is closed. This mother-child juxtaposition was intended to symbolize the fact that the Greenham Common protesters were fighting for generations to come, and acting out of fear of a nuclear future.
This mother-child dynamic underpins the project's other works, as well. One standalone piece consists of an intestine-like torso attached on top of a set of child's legs. A similar piece includes an arm extending out from the stomach of a pregnant woman. The result is something that manages to straddle both the universal and the specific circumstances of a moment in history.
"It’s almost like I am taking the fabric of the tent," Hasler says of the closed tent, "the sort of the nylon element of the tent, and I make the fabric, this skin layer as sort of the container for emotion, or sort of the container to hold emotion — as in the skin holding emotion."
Embrace the Base is now on display through April 11th at the Corn Exchange Newbury near London.