Body of Evidence

Ciara’s exhibition “Body of Evidence” [2016] was stages as an integral part of her practice led MVA and was supported by the full dissertation – The Aesthetics of the Aftermath – which serves as a structural outline for the artmaking practice presented in the exhibition.
It was held at the Unisa Space Gallery on the Muckleneuk campus, in Preller Street, Pretoria.

Artists statement

Body of Evidence is an exhibition that explores the conceptual importance of documenting, recording and archiving the artistic process, in the context of the physical traces that remain in the aftermath of unseen production associated with an artwork.

A shift in artmaking in first-world countries since the 1970s has, in retrospect, come to be regarded as the beginning of Forensic Aesthetics. Instead of a pictorial intention, the results have fostered “open-ended experimentation, improvisation, and hypothesis, and often assume the look of collected data – marks, remnants, results, traces”. This shift in intention indicates that the thinking, the making, the product and the exhibition all hold equal significance. They become individual nodes in a system. This exhibition considers traces of imaginative activity as testimony of an event and as circumstantial objects in their own right. A crime scene, an artwork and an exhibition are indicative of place where the action has already occurred, and by investigating the traces, those who view these traces hope to achieve a deeper understanding of what occurred.

Furthermore, this presentation draws upon Joseph Kosuth’s One and Three Chairs (1965), which correlates closely with Thomas Keenan and Eyal Weizman’s three types of cultural narratives: The Document (Chair), the Witness (Photograph of chair) and the Forensic (Cognitive definition of chair). This forms the framework through which the artist’s artworks and their process have been analysed and contextually recorded.

By contextualising residue and traces as part of art-making skills, this exhibition becomes a convergence in the flow of evidence accumulated or discarded as a by-product of the creative procedure. The samples in the work Evidence represent 111 artists in 23 countries; and form a body of fragments which testifies to their creation.