‘Solve Et Coagula’: taking apart the physical body


Miriam El Abbassi | Arts Editor

Featured Image: Bronze lungs hung within a wooden frame.| Courtesy of Esther Kim

Solve Et Coagula is a collection of bronze sculptures created by fifth-year visual arts student, Esther Kim, that seeks to “encapsulates the process of transformation from material to matter.” 

Derived from a Latin expression, the title of this exhibit comes from the words “solve,” meaning to break down, and “coagula,” which refers to the process of coagulation, or bringing elements back together. Each sculpture is a recreation of a different aspect of the human body, and can be examined independently, but also as a single entity. Both perspectives speak to the complexities and intricacies of the human body, and both beg the viewer to reflect on themselves in a similar manner. 

According to Kim’s artist statement, Kim plays with size and scale in order to capture the essence of a living vessel. There are two sculptures in particular that represent this kind of interplay: Severed Tongue and Here I Am. 

Severed Tongue is simply that — a steel sculpture of a disembodied tongue that measures almost 2 feet long, and is pointed at the end, almost lizard-like. Here I Am is significantly smaller measuring in at 4 inches and is a bronze recreation of a human ear. This drastic size difference can bring the audience’s attention to each specific aspect, but it can also serve to liken the human body, and its processes, to something mechanical. 

“Exploring the human body is like understanding a machine, each functioning part integrates as a whole. However, the human body is full of spontaneity, it can be obstructed through its limitations and surpassed by the mind.” 

Kim then goes even deeper, expressing that the human mind does not experience the same limitations as the physical body. The mind is infinite, and is ever-expanding through thoughts and imagination, while the body is confined to what is tangible. This exhibit seeks to create a space for interpretation, allowing the audience to reflect on, and become aware of, the lens through which they experience reality. 

Located in the Special Project Gallery at the Joan and Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts, Solve Et Coagula, will be displayed until January 16. 

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