Helen Chadwick, Meat Abstract #1, 1989
Alex Van Gelders Meat Portraits brought a couple of other bodies of work to mind for me so, ever in pursuit of an overly obvious link, it seems like a good chance to think about Helen Chadwick’s beautiful but disgusting Meat Abstracts. The extraordinary quality of these pictures really doesn’t come across in reproduction but even so the lushness of the pictures is apparent.
The pictures are very deliberately put together; with props and fabrics lending an air of sumptuous theatricality. In each, a careful arrangement of meat has been laid out; each is lit in part from the single light build positioned within the frame.
Meat Abstract #8, 1989
A key feature of the photographs, and one that sets Chadwick’s meat pictures apart from Van Gelder’s, is that they were made with a large format Polaroid camera. The ultra large format of the camera – the film is 20″x24″ – provides extraordinary detail and it’s this, coupled with the lushness of the polaroid print surface, that makes these pictures so seductive in real life.
Meat Abstract #2, 1989