Monash University

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The Grotesque as a contemporary means of representation.

posted on 2017-02-28, 01:15 authored by Bourne, Catherine
I am interested in ways that anxiety, fear and violence can be sublimated into an artistic form. I explore this transition by depicting states of psychic or mental anguish expressed through blurred, distorted physical forms: a major influence in the development of this lens-based project has been the Grotesque and its physiological representation of the body. Employing the grotesque in my own work offers me the ability to destabilise the known world through my creative practice. My studio project questions the grotesque as a means of representing both my own anxieties and those I feel are present in contemporary society. Our contemporary understanding of the grotesque differs from its historical usage. My research explores the relevance of the grotesque as a contemporary means of representation. My work aims to bridge this gap between the historical grotesque and a more abstract contemporary usage. My studio research employs lens-based art to question whether it is permissible, in our times, to use these forms. As a result of this research I have created a series of still and moving images. It has enabled me to develop a deeper understanding of the implications and limitations of depicting psychological and physical representations of violence. The creation of these images has also furthered my interest in the implications of monsters as symbols, particularly as the personification of our anxieties. This experimentation also led to a better understanding of the use of the grotesque body in contemporary art and how this impacts on my work.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Matthew Perkins

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Fine Art


Master of Fine Art

Degree Type



Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture

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