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Anthropomorphic art to make you question the human condition
You could, of course, describe them — the hole in the top of the needle, or the long supporting member of the seat — but there are no other nouns. These are catachreses: things for which there is simply no other name, so we misappropriate nouns from elsewhere so we have something to call them. Look around you, and you’ll find there’s no shortage; our everyday lives are full of them.
Many of these words are peculiarly anthropomorphized: the elbow of a pipe, neck of a bottle, join the three name-checked in my little rhyme. This curiosity is something that Argentinean-born, London-based artist Amalia Pica takes and runs with in her Catachresis series, which is currently on show at Modern Art Oxford.
The works sit together in tension, the collection as a whole simultaneously reinforcing and undermining the logic behind the concept of catachresis. #20 (teeth of the comb, legs of the table, tongue of the shoe), for instance, uses those very objects to depict crude body parts, naturalizing the urge we have to view the objects around us as an extension of our own form.”