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Collage - One Flesh

One Flesh

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1985 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Chadwick, Helen, born 1953 - died 1996 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Collage of photocopies on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Copyright puposes only: Courtesy of The Helen Chadwick Estate and David Notarius

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

One Flesh represents a madonna-like figure, a female child and a placenta in a collage of photocopies from life. The photocopies could have been produced in an unlimited number, but in this instance they have been assembled to create a unique work of art. The photocopying process has been used for the effect it creates rather than in order to produce an exactly repeated image.

Physical description

'One Flesh', collage of photocopies, 168 x 113 x 6.5 cm. The title refers to the trinity of mother, child, and, above them (toned in gold), the placenta.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1985 (made)


Chadwick, Helen, born 1953 - died 1996 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Collage of photocopies on paper


Height: 168 cm, Width: 113 cm, Depth: 6.5 cm

Descriptive line

'One Flesh', collage of photocopies on paper, Helen Chadwick, 1985

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Baker, Malcolm, and Brenda Richardson (eds.), A Grand Design: The Art of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London: V&A Publications, 1999.
Kingsley, Hope with contributions by Riopelle, Christopher Seduced by art : photography past and present London: National Gallery, 2012

Labels and date

Cameraless Photography

Helen Chadwick (1953–96)
One Flesh
Photocopy collage
160 x 106.7 cm
Museum no. Ph.146-1986

One Flesh represents a Renaissance Madonna-like figure, a female child and a placenta in a gilt-framed collage of toned photocopies from life. The photocopies make use of modern office machinery to revisit the past and liberated the artist from conventional photography. While photocopies like photographs are intended to replicate in quantity, Chadwick used them in this instance to assemble a unique work of art. []
This image of a mother and baby with a golden placenta floating above is assembled from photocopies. It combines this medium, which carries connotations of cheap, mechanical reproducibility, with references to Renaissance paintings of the Madonna and Child. As the title suggests, it is also a visceral depiction of the physical bond between mother and child and an evocation of Christian rituals of Holy Communion. [11/08/2011-27/11/2011]

Subjects depicted

Infants; Women; Birth; Maternity; Breast-feeding; Children; Mothers


Prints; Christianity; Birth; Photographs; Religion


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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