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FRUITING BODIES


UMICO NIWA


AT


UNDERGROUND BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONS
8 MARCH – 8 MAY 2020

Curated by Ruthie Natanzon


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Creations are typically ascribed to divine origin. The grotesque is relegated to the realm of scientific assemblage, the work of humans, not to be tampered with but left alone. So, what of us then? Us who seek to trek the infinite variations of ourselves, things we do not witness but embody. The multiple realities that exist coincidentally alongside us, things out of reach, we can feel diffracted through space and time.


Fruiting Bodies features a series of uncanny sculptural assemblages conjoining gathered organic matter—flowers, stems, fruits and vegetables—to form animated hybrid creatures. Some of these homunculi stand proudly in nooks and corners, while others embrace each other to form a new whole.* Each work holds multiplicity; within these bodies, limbs and cores appear malleable and interchangeable but chosen with care. In a harmonious bridging of desire and form, these creatures emerge as ecstatic and agent self-expressions. Niwa’s sculptures probe the facets from which we fashion our identities and corporeal selves, and by extension, how we as individuals compose a larger network of forms and relations.


*Homunculus: Appearing in texts within the fields of alchemy, fiction, and psychology, a homunculus is the depiction of a small human being. Some theorizations state that a homunculus is a fully formed human the size of a single cell, and that it matures by increasing in size. The writings of Paracelsus employ this idea in a method to produce a human being through artificial gestation. Sixteenth century alchemical texts popularized this concept, though it is connected to preformationism’s study of embryonic growth, and may have been influenced by folkloric mythologies, such as the Golem.

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Umico Niwa (b. 1991, Japan)  is currently developing a surgical procedure to elongate the elbows of self-conscious young men so as to resemble pterodactyl wings. She is only a couple of months away from graduating with an MFA from the Sculpture Program at Virginia Commonwealth University, fingers crossed.