In her video work Luna Scales takes her point of departure in traditional Western art and its iconic depiction of the naked female body, as we know it from paintings like Manet Olympia. There is even something baroque about the staging of the reclining body in pitch black surroundings that makes us notice every little movement of the body.
It is in the artworks title and in the subtitles that we are made aware of the fact that our first impressions are wrong. Instead the video reveals to us that what we are looking at is a physically impaired body – a body type that is almost invisible in public space and media imagery, a body that is seldom given agency, gender or a sexuality.
While looking at the reclining woman the video’s subtitles describes in detail the difficulties of everyday life and goes through the thoughts and strategies that are necessary for moving and being in both public as well as private space. The text maps out her body as she lies there patiently open to our investigative gaze. Although the form of the subtitles is that of a medical report of her body and its diminished function, it is in a language that still creates agency.
We are fascinated by this artwork because it manages to keep us in suspense despite the minimal and simple action. The meticulous mapping of this female body echoed in our own bodies and opened our eyes to the many things we take for granted. This is a beautiful artwork that is both complex and creates an impact with very few means and it leaves us wanting more.