Body Image Artworks; ageing

  • Marna Clarke; “Hand On Chest”
  • Antonio Finelli
  • Joan Semmel


Presently the aged body of an artistic subject represents the evidence of the passing of time. The old body is typically dreaded by mainstream culture. The grey hair, sagging skin, wrinkles, lines, scars and spots; all the complex effects on the body are documented by these artists. By doing this they not only explore the process of ageing, but also challenge the dominant and negative perception of it.

Joan Semmel’s paintings depict herself as ageing and nude (aged 82 years old). Her images show the real life, the natural evolution of the person which needs to be presented without any ‘face lifts’.

Marna Clarke’s work embraces the process of ageing gracefully- documenting her own body in “Time As We Know It”.

Most images that show the passing of time or of the failure of our bodies convey the messages of self praise and acceptance.

“Ageing is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength”.
-Betty Friedan


Body Image Artwork

  • Art Installation; “Don’t Be A Puppet/Love Yourself”.

This installation looked in to the topic of eating disorders, focusing mainly on bulimia. This artwork showed how real life people saw themselves; this information was gathered from people on eating disorder forums. Therefore the first part of the show was print outs of what these people had said about themselves.

The next part of the show showed a dress form with markings showing where to cut in plastic surgery procedures. This is a reminder as to how persuasive it is in our culture to change ourselves by any means possible.

After this was a series of mirrors.The first mirror that you looked in to showed what a healthy body image would see and say whilst looking in the mirror. The next mirror you moved on to a distorted body image. In this mirror was a skeleton like image representing the sickness of bulimia with negative thoughts scribbled across the mirror. Then the last mirror represented recovery and how a healthy person would approach body issues.

After the mirrors you’re asked to write on a poster what you love about your body. Nurallia has been researching this topic throughout Germany, South Africa, New Zealand and England and wants to educate the people of the world about eating disorders. She plans to travel the world raising awareness and raising money for the local causes.


I am particularly interested in this exhibition piece as I like how there are different sections for each stage of the installation. The use of text in this piece is also important to me and my own work as it helped inspire me on how to present my own quotes for my degree show. As I want my quotes to be on a separate wall to my photographs, so that the viewer has to look at the photos and quotes at separate times and then try and link the two together themselves.


As I have been looking at a lot of life drawing I am going to start hand building my clay bodies as I feel I have looked in to life drawing quite a lot. With my ideas about the film photographs being behind the clay clay bodies I have thought about adding to it. I have been quite unmotivated and hit a bit of a creative block recently, therefore I have gone back to my creative writing as that usually helps me overcome this. This is what helped me come up with the idea of having creative writing pieces exploring the ideas and emotions of feeling unappreciated and self conscious, etc, in your body. I am thinking of having these writing pieces hanging at different lengths throughout the art piece- printed on to acetate.