In 2006 I attended an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery called Undercover Surrealism. It introduced me to the work of the writer George Bataille who produced an influential magazine called Documents between 1929 and 1930. Although he shared the Surrealist’s desire to subvert the culture of the time he was never fully at ease with their idealism. He wanted to expose the dark desires of the human psyche and was fascinated by human sacrifice and our relationship with death.
I was inspired to create this piece of work a quiet homage to Bataille. My intention was to scrub until my skin broke, breaking the barrier between the external and the internal. I was also prompted by how the majority of people cleanse themselves and scrub away any natural scent in an effort to separate ourselves from our visceral being. Our minds may have evolved but our bodies, to a degree, remain animal.
Religion has often separated the flesh from the mind and the majority of religions have a significant ritual centred around the washing and cleansing of the body. So I continued to explore these ideas through my short films.