This thought-provoking volume presents an original, theoretical reflection on the use of the body in art. It analyses the ways in which the body has always been manipulated: from its relationship with cultural, religious and political institutions to current trends of self-decoration mutation.
The first section focuses on images of the body as it has endured extreme hardship, a kind of iconography of pain. The second section looks at how bodies have been altered as they have been controlled, from prisoners’ scars to the effects of electroshock therapy, and even the subtle, psychological effects of the continuous surveillance and data gathering of today. The book concludes with an analysis of some of the major practices of body alteration, bordering on self-mutation (and mutilation), via plastic surgery, transplants and implants to the point that there is a generation today incapable of distinguishing between real forms and a manipulated reality.