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Print - Reassembling the Self 1
  • Reassembling the Self 1
    Aldworth, Susan, born 1955
  • Enlarge image

Reassembling the Self 1

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    UK (made)

  • Date:

    2012 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Aldworth, Susan, born 1955 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lithograph

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Susan Aldworth

  • Museum number:

    E.642-2015

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case MB2G, shelf DR55, box MP324

‘Reassembling the Self’ is a series of prints inspired by Susan Aldworth’s study of schizophrenia; the work weaves together art, science, psychiatry and individual histories in an exploration of self, perception and the fragility of human identity. The prints are lithographs made with the renowned master printer Stanley Jones at the Curwen Studio. They are some of the last prints he worked on before retiring.

Aldworth studied philosophy at university before studying fine art, and always had an interest in the relationship between the mind and the body. Since then she has worked with scientists, doctors and people with Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, epilepsy (we have an etching by her, ‘Birth of a Thought 1, 2009’ which came out of the epilepsy project), and Downs Syndrome, to understand how mind influences body, and what happens to those who lose their sense of self as a consequence of mental disturbance. She has used scanning technologies and digital imaging as employed in neuroscience. ‘Reassembling the Self’ was a portraiture and self-portraiture project exploring schizophrenia which she developed during her time as Artist in Residence at the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University from 2010-2013. She worked with scientists, clinicians, and two artists with a schizophrenia diagnosis, exploring some of the complex narratives of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is poorly understood and the main purpose of the project was to address some of the misconceptions and stigma around the condition.

Lithography is a very technical and challenging process and Aldworth worked closely with Jones, drawing on his lifetime of skill and expertise to realise the kinds of imagery she wanted to reflect the mental disturbance experienced by those with schizophrenia. In a sense, as the artist describes them, “the Reassembling the Self lithographs are formal portraits of schizophrenia itself. The idea is simple. A body attacks itself – and this is represented by a reassembled anatomy where huge ear bones and a hip bone become the shoulder bones, where a large pair of ears form an arse. A distorted anatomy as a visual equivalent of distortions to one’s sense of self which can happen in schizophrenia.” These prints also show the extraordinary technical versatility of lithography as a medium. These are plate lithographs in which she was able to mix digital photography with elements lifted from historical anatomical illustrations, and then add drawn marks – giving the whole a painterly quality, with rich subtle colour. Here Aldworth has exploited the particular qualities of lithography, and experimented to create new effects.

Physical description

Print on paper; a human skull at teh centre, with a pelvis and other bones and internal organs depicted on either side.

Place of Origin

UK (made)

Date

2012 (made)

Artist/maker

Aldworth, Susan, born 1955 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Lithograph

Dimensions

Height: 99.5 cm, Width: 70.3 cm

Descriptive line

Susan Aldworth: Reassembling the Self 1, 2012. Lithograph

Materials

Ink; Paper

Techniques

Lithography

Subjects depicted

Subject; Skull

Categories

Prints; Portraits

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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