Creation

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Creation

by Jacob Schuman 


 
"Creation" is a series of six prints, taken from the pages of science and medical text books and enlarged, signed, and framed.  The selected pages involve scientific approaches to sexuality, including the biological reasons for sexual reproduction, the moment of conception, gender, pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and sexual dysfunction.

 "Creation" troubles the distinction between science and aesthetics.  By appropriating images and texts from works intended for science, "Creation" reclaims the human body and its life processes as artistic objects.  Each print has been enlarged, framed, and signed in order to make the transformation from "scientific image" to "artistic image" more apparent.  Nevertheless, "Creation" does not obscure the sources of the images - each page has been reproduced in its entirety, and the individual titles of each print are merely bibliographical citations.  In "Creation," the "scientific image" is not eclipsed by the transition to "artistic image."  Instead, the series challenges the viewer to reconceptualize medical text books as both scientifically and aesthetically valuable.  

Moreover, "Creation" critiques science's drive to classify, separate, and subjectify biological phenomena.  Seen in the context of an art gallery, a biology textbook's question: "Why does sexual reproduction occur?" and it's answer: "Parasites," alongside a flow chart for detecting "sexual dysfunction" and stark images of human bodies measured, photographed, and studied, becomes shockingly - even offensively - reductive and rational.  In a certain respect, "Creation"'s attempt to restore beauty to the "scientific image" is thus a deliberate failure - by demonstrating the degree to which science deprives sexuality of romance, mystery, and humanity, "Creation" reveals the limits of the scientific worldview.

The title "Creation" operates on three levels.  First, in reference to the sexual act itself - a motivating concept for countless works of art, reproduction is a central feature of the biological sciences as well.  Combining the aesthetic and scientific approaches to the phenomenon is an important step in more fully engaging with the topic.  "Creation" also refers to the ways in which science "creates" sexuality even as it studies it - the choice of prints demonstrates how science outlines, perhaps even limits, the horizons of how it will conceptualize sex through the choices it makes in objects of study.  Finally "Creation" signifies artistic creation.  By appropriating text book pages not meant for aesthetic purposes, "Creation" not only involves the creation of "artistic images," but also asks viewers to create their own new aesthetics in their everyday lives by reconceptualizing formerly mundane objects as works of art.  "Creation" posits that there is no division between beauty and utility, and attempts to restore aesthetic enjoyment to an intellectual system renowned for its devotion to somber rationality.

Prints:

6 framed full color photograph prints


Freeman, Scott. Biological Science. Second ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson: Prentice Hall, 2005. pg. 262.  


Gilbert, Scott F. Developmental Biology. Eighth ed. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, Inc., 2006. pg. 191. 


Berek, Jonathan S. Berek & Novak's Gynecology. Fourteenth ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a Wolters Kluwer Business, 2007. pg. 1048. 


Freeman, Scott. Biological Science. Second ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson: Prentice Hall, 2005. pg. 1114.  


Freeman, Scott. Biological Science. Second ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson: Prentice Hall, 2005. pg. 782.  


Berek, Jonathan S. Berek & Novak's Gynecology. Fourteenth ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a Wolters Kluwer Business, 2007. pg. 326. 

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