JEAN-FRANÇOIS KREBS, haptic experience and a slimy poetics, Charlie Clark, δημοσίευση CLOT Magazine [15/10/2022]Marilena Pateraki
In Metamorphoses, Ovid tells tales of countless transformations undergone by Gods and mortals. Changing into flora and fauna, and sometimes back again, there is a fluidity in the characters’ physical form. These poetic accounts prefigure the concept of transhumanism, popular in today’s cultural imagination, which has been taken on in a new dimension in the light of rapid technological development. The thought-provoking ideas around altering the body appeal to academics, artists and writers alike, who use the concept to expand on ideas around the human condition. It’s often referenced in relation to technological development and additions to the human body, but transhumanism can refer to any kind of bodily alteration.
One artist addressing concepts of transhumanism, but through natural means, is emerging artist Jean-François Krebs. Born in France and currently based in London, Krebs’ multidisciplinary work is tactile, visceral and rich in natural imagery. Working in film, installation, performance, glass and textiles, they experiment with the limits of the body, expanding this through a multitude of processes and materials.
With an exciting and varied background in landscape architecture, horticulture, and alternative medicine, Krebs deeply understands the place of the body in nature. His studies in horticulture led him onto a path in landscape architecture, which he left behind when he realised that this took the landscape and the plants out of the central focus. Everything had to be measured and documented, leaving little room for experimentation and feeling things out.
There is a preciousness and a poetry to the way he sees things, which he communicates through the experimental nature of his work. ‘Taboo’ body parts and items are transformed into beautiful textiles, adding poetry to what could otherwise be read as grotesque.
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