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States of Freedom: The Figure in Flux

August 29 – December 16, 2018
Tisch Family and Koppelman Galleries

States of Freedom: The Figure in Flux is a trans-historical group exhibition that looks at figuration in art today with a long tail into history. Presented in conjunction with Expressions Unbound: American Outsider Art from the Andrew and Linda Safran Collection, States of Freedom examines contemporary and historical work in which the body appears fragmented, flattened, or collaged as a means to articulate the incomplete project of representing the human subject in total. As such, this exhibition brings together work from the University's archive and rare book collections of early modern medical journals, treatises, and imagery alongside sculpture, video, and paintings by contemporary artists Derrick Adams, A.K. Burns, Kate Costello, Harry Dodge, Anna K.E., Lucy Kim, Kiki Kogelnik, Maria Lassnig, Jeanine Oleson, and others. Collectively, these works explore and celebrate the human form as an unstable amalgamation of histories, technologies, and cultures.

States of Freedom begins with the notion of the unfixed state of the body, rooted in a broad arc of thinking from postmodernism's ‘collaged' subjectivity to the sentient materiality of Object Orientated Ontology, the ever-blurring line between the human and machine, presaged by Donna Haraway's Cyborg Manifesto, to the sudden need to reaffirm the queer subject in the face of renewed discriminatory policies. Whereas science and culture have taken our understanding of the figure into reaffirming, fluid territories, the current political state has presented us with a renewed need to stand up and mark the occasion. States of Freedom arrives at the heels of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein's bicentennial, reminding us that the question of What is Human? has endured and will likely persist for centuries to come

States of Freedom: The Figure in Flux is organized by Dina Deitsch, Director, Tufts University Art Galleries, with Chiara Pidatella, Academic Research Curator, Tufts University Art Galleries.