NARRATOR: The prints in this gallery, and the gallery to your right, include images of human anatomy. Smith’s earliest exhibited work addressed the frailty and endurance of the human body. It depicts fragments of the body, both internal and later external, in stark, yet poignant renderings. In these galleries, she focuses on internal organs and systems, from the muscular to the digestive to the reproductive.
This work, Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Law was Kiki Smith’s first published portfolio. These prints of internal organs are isolated from their normal context – the rest of the body. Notice how the organs seem suspended, as if they are floating on the page. Curator Wendy Weitman thinks of this grid of nine body parts, as a still life.
WENDY WEITMAN: This portfolio also highlights certain compositional structures that we will see Kiki Smith using again and again, which is that central position of an image isolated on a sheet, floating the way it does in a I find surrealist austere way. One does not expect to encounter the image of a stomach, floating on a sheet of paper, in an art museum.
NARRATOR: The title, Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Law reflects the artist’s thoughts about control and ownership of the body.