-Full Blown - Installation/Performance
-400 x 400 cm
-65 kilograms of hand-crafted wax flowers which amounts the artist's body weight
In 2004, multidisciplinary visual artist Célio Braga (1965, Guimarânia, Brazil) was invited to participate to the group exhibition Loss curated by Marjan Boot for the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam-SMBA. For this occasion, he created FULL BLOWN, a three part installation the central work which consisted in a 4 x 4 meters floor piece made of hand-crafted wax-flowers.
This delicate shroud amounted to 65 kilograms, the artist's weight, and partly lent its metaphoric power to the Christian association of wax with notions of purity and redemption. Whereas, because of its origins from chaste bees, wax was historically regarded as pure material, symbolic of the sacrificed Corpus Christi, the fragility of the material and the flower motif used by Braga referred to death ritual and more generally to the evanescence of human life.
Representative of Braga's creative endeavour aimed at tackling the relation between body, memory, illness and death through a practice merging traditional crafts and high art standards, FULL BLOWN's central piece kept on being an important point of reference in his work. Since then, Braga has kept on using wax for its strong symbolic associations and came to understand more fully its potential for transformation -an important aspect of the conceptual frame of FULL BLOWN with its notions of transfiguration, passage and, ultemately, salvation.
Being a metaphor for the body of the artist itself, FULL BLOWN central piece seemed to invite Braga to mirror his own physical becoming. From being a fixed structure -an installation-FULL Blown had to reveal the potential for change of its primary material -just as the artist's body succumbs to the process of aging. FULL BLOWN central piece has to become the site of a one-time performance during which the artist's body merges with that of the shroud, breaking the wax-flowers with its weight and movements, enacting the very process of destruction and change that
undergoes the artists' body.
Both the body of the artist and that of its surrogate will interact in a ritual of mutual mortification -the flowers breaking and Braga's skin coming to bear the marks of their incision.