Monday, November 28, 2005
An exhibition associated with Royal Worcester Infimary Installation showed photographs of the building showing the old wards in varying states of dereliction peeling paint and plasterwork nicely composed to show interesting textures and subtle colour effects created by damp and neglect. Then some striking photographs of what I took to be a former patient taken in what was probably the former physiotherapy gym. The model was nude and her legs and arms deformed – she was probably a thalidomide victim. The photographs were not repulsive, there are far more shocking images shown in newsreel but they were startling. The model clearly co-operated willingly and there was a simple dignity about her as she posed; ‘Look at me I’m not ashamed of my body.’ Were then they beautiful? Well no but then I confess to some prejudice against the photographed nude because of the limited artistic range it has. Artistically nude photography hardly rates compared with sculpture which does the incomplete body much better. As examples, The Venus de Milo, Michelangelso’s slaves or the torso’s of Aristide Mailliol and Eric Gill.