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ghislaine fremaux carnal unknowing hastings.jpeg


In this work, I interrogate the notion of “carnal knowledge” through portraiture. Carnal knowledge is a euphemism for sexual intercourse and refers to the Biblical fall of man, whereupon Adam and Eve became aware that they were naked and were disgraced. I am interested in meanings and experiences of nudity within clothed society, and in the carnal ambiguity, fluidity, and unruliness that seem to overwhelm any effort to 'know' the body


These drawings portray my friends and partners. Our work together originates in a spontaneous and uninstructed encounter. I hold a camera against my body, its machinic eye fitfully blinking and yielding clumsy photographs. I work from these photos, magnified in the small screen of my phone. Through the digital vision of the camera, the person’s body is atomized into discrete cells of color. This gives rise to a drawing that is chromatically volatile, setting forth from my own skin as my fingers apply chalk pastel to paper. Paper is itself like skin: it is ‘porous’, pliant, and perforable. It suffers and survives, and extends itself forever through the proliferation of collage. In collaged works, I cannibalize and hybridize multiple drawings of multiple people in the service of corporeal ambiguity, fluidity, and unruliness. 

I often fossilize the body/bodies there under high-gloss resin, redolent of saliva or sweat. Through the clear membrane of the resin, the body is both withheld and hyper-exposed. In their scale and reflectivity, fastened raw to the wall, paper drinking the moisture from the air, the drawings are themselves bodies — processes, rather than stable objects. 

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