The gendered sacredness of Lawrence Buttigieg’s box-assemblages

In this paper I discuss the three-dimensional, body-themed box-assemblages that I have been producing for the past five years. These artefacts are a result of my endeavour to transform my studio practice into a collaborative process with Idoia, a specific woman who has been its cynosure for the better part of my artistic career. Moreover, mindful of the extent and merit of her demiurgic contribution to my art work, I venture to say that, within its context, she not only epitomises but also, on a purely imaginary level, transcends womanhood. Although in appearance the box-assemblages are reminiscent of polyptychs, tabernacles and reliquaries, they contain representations of our bodies and objects related to them––an idiosyncrasy through which they engender a confluence of the erotic and the religious [fig. 1]. This artefact acts as an elaborate representational device which goes beyond the mere portrayal of the subjects in question and complexly disrupts the traditional complementary positions of the viewing subject and viewed object. In the process, an alternative mode of looking at the human body, especially the female one, comes into being/takes shape. By challenging the traditional role of male subjectivity in the Western world, it thus serves as a medium through which I explore notions of alterity and selfhood.

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