The Mouth and the Anus: New Tools for Art Criticism

How can the processes of absorption, excretion and sublimation elucidate the gesture of artistic creation, particularly in relation to the encounters with otherness that take place in the aesthetic experience? And consequently: Is the dynamic between these processes – here, taken from Georges Bataille and Oswald de Andrade writings – a way to collapse the representational conception of art, embodying the aesthetic experience?

There have been a number of studies about the presence of body in art but some of them face it as an idealistic representation that would point towards transcendental meanings. What is being proposed in this communication is to exceed the hermeneutic methodology and reach a more radical concept of aesthetic experience as a process of absorption and excretion.

The mouth in Oswald de Andrade’s Anthropophagy and the anus in Georges Bataille’s Eroticism seem to be privileged starting points in order to scrutinize the role of body in contemporary art. To clarify our hypothesis this paper is structured on two theoretical movements.

Firstly, it is crucial to define the status of the body in Andrade and Bataille’ aesthetic projects beyond the traditional approach that frequently reduce their proposal to the agenda of the Avant-garde movements they belonged to. In a second movement, we use this theoretical framework to analyze Cooking, a film by the Brazilian artist Tunga for Destricted, a production platform that brings together sex and art in a series of short films created by some of the world’s most provocative artists and directors.

body | anthropophagy | eroticism | post-hermeneutics

Icaro Ferraz Vidal Junior graduated in Media Studies at Federal Fluminense University, holds a MA in Communication and Culture from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and a MA in “Crossways in European Humanities” from New University of Lisbon, University of Santiago de Compostela and University of Sheffield. Currently he is a PhD Candidate from Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate: Cultural Studies in Literary Interzones at University of Bergamo, where he researches the uses and meanings of the mouth and the anus in contemporary art.