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… There is a strong sense of pain in the exhibited works by Tabitha Moses. But what kind of pain are we exploring here? Although part of the exhibition is composed of highly physical, dismembered, stumpy limbs - all of which have been constructed by Moses using found fabrics, stuffed with sawdust and then stuck with sharp pins and pretty beads - I suggest that the hurt on display here is emotional. Importantly, the sufferers of eczema and psoriasis interviewed by Moses make comments such as: “this has come about because I know that I am suppressing a lot of my emotion”. In this sense, Moses works in unison with other sculptors and notably, with Louise Bourgeois and Kiki Smith. All three artists, I suggest, borrow the language of an actual fragmentation as metaphor in order to suggest spiritual rupturing and emotional injuries. Kiki Smith recalls in interview that she made cut up arms and legs because: "(…) That was how my internal psychic life felt. I was about 26 and I felt all, not chopped up, but in disarray, fragile. I feel I’m actually making physical manifestations of psychic and spiritual dilemmas."


Bourgeois not only made literal severed limbs similar to those of Moses, but she also made sculptures stuck with pins. In particular, Bourgeois made Mother and Child (1970), a voodoo nightmare of the traditionally benevolent mother and child embrace, in which both woman and baby are overtaken by swarms of coloured headed pins. Although Moses is less explicit in her references, and always detaches limbs from the rest of the body, we remain compelled to ask the question, are we dealing with a specifically “female” view of pain and rupture?..


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Threshold, 2012

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