Region/Concept: Latin America, Body
Sub-concepts: Compression, Growth, Limit, Suffocation, Commodity
Description: Argentine artist Nicola Costantino creates sculptures of animal bodies grotesquely contorted within the confines of visible and invisible limits.

At first they appear to be misshapen spheres of some raw ore extracted from the earth, pressed together by an unknown force of gravity. But then more definite features begin to emerge on the surface from among the strangely familiar geography of fissures and cracks. Immediately one is struck by a horrifying recognition: these are not raw elements but somehow bodies. The horror is not that they are dead but that they are possibly still alive. Through some perversion of the vital tendency to grow, these bodies were forbidden the spatial conditions to expand, grotesquely contorting them within immovable limits. Contained inside a form that coincides with their identity (as a resource for consumption or exchange, a commodity) these bodies were cultivated to fill the package that would inevitably realize their calculated finality. In this way the body’s capacity for life becomes the very condition for its exploitation by capitalism. Even in an apparently open field the bodies remain bound up as if inside a hostile womb, where their dependency is materialized as an inability to breathe. This world of suffocation, of life without an atmosphere, in which any possibility of movement is merely apparent, is the common condition of all bodies in capitalism, the shared pathology of our compressed vitality and our stifled screams. Indeed, a packaging surrounds each of us at an indeterminate distance outside our bodies to make us circulate only within its enclosed economy and to suffocate us when we expand too much within its invisible bounds. Perhaps then the greatest affirmation of life is written in the grotesque lines and cracks of our suffering, in those folds of contorted flesh which inscribe the impossibility of total homogenization, and maximum growth at the limit.

Will Scarlett