Gemma Lewis

Towards a Curdling of Desire and Disgust

book, digital c-type prints

“My work is a feminist response to contemporary culture and advertising in which feminism is often reduced to a philosophy of individual fulfilment by means of consumption rather than collective action and liberation - where there is a danger that feminism is being recuperated to become so de-politicised that it only pertains to the ability to consume what you desire, or influenced to desire, and buy merchandise branded with ironic empty “girl power” slogan-ism. I use food as a symbol for excess, the female form and feminised consumerist consumption where we consume highly elaborate images vicariously, in an imagined state of deliciousness, as an unrealizable desire and almost as fetish. This commercial presence of food infers a certain position of exceptional privilege: having fulfilled its purpose as a requirement for biological survival, the question of food supply becomes a matter of recreation. In order for my work to function as a critique of this phenomenon I adopt its commercial visual language and then attempt to subvert it and momentarily defer consumer gratification by utilising Julia Kristeva’s state of abjection as an apparatus to intervene within consumption practises, aiming to evoke a sense of repulsion in the viewer and further, a curdling of desire and disgust. This understanding is reflected in my work through the imagery of food being contaminated, leaking, oozing and transgressing borders.”