a fabric carcass with a bird and vines hanging from a meat hook

All images © RX & Slag, shared with permission

If you walked into an exhibition featuring work from Tamara Kostianovsky in recent years, you likely encountered life-sized carcasses dangling from meat hooks. The Argentine-American artist (previously) is perhaps best known for these carnal sculptures of bone and flesh made from patterned fabric scraps. Newer additions include botanical vines winding through ribs and tropical birds perched inside that vacillate between beauty and brutality.

“I see these works in terms of metamorphosis,” Kostianovsky says. “The idea is to transform the image of the carcass from a place of carnage into a matrix where life takes root—in the manner of a utopian environment.”

Some of the carcasses will be on view starting April 23 at the Museum of Hunting and Nature in Paris for The Flesh of the World, Kostianovsky’s latest solo exhibition. Featuring about 30 works including multi-colored tree stumps and wall-based panels, the show brings forth the artist’s enduring fascination with the entangled relationship between bodies and the environment.

 

a south america shaped sculpture with meat-like sections, foliage, and birds

Stitching recycled clothing and various textiles into patterns that resemble marbled muscle, skin, and other tissues, she asks viewers to consider their consumption habits and the cyclical nature of life and death. By contrasting such soft, domestic materials with the grotesque qualities of the animal body, the subtle cruelties of slaughter and gluttony many partake in daily become more visceral.

Much of Kostianovsky’s works also address the impacts of colonialism and violence, particularly in her recent Carnal Geographies series. Layering maps, foliage, and patchwork, she visualizes North and South America and Africa, delineating the outer continental borders with flesh-like parts. Dotted with colorful birds, the works confront the historical and continued brutality waged in these places and the potential for new growth and life in a post-colonial world.

See The Flesh of the World through November 3. The artist also has work in two group exhibitions, one on view through April 27 at Chart Gallery in New York City and the other through June 2 at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff. You can also peruse an archive of her work on her site and Instagram.

 

a detail of a colorful textile stump

a detail of a bird sculpture on a floral backdrop

Transforming Fabric into Flesh, Tamara Kostianovsky Fuses Cruelty and Beauty

a north america shaped sculpture with meat-like sections, foliage, and birds

a floral tapestry with bird sculptures

three floral fiber carcasses hanging from meat hooks

a colorful textile tree stump

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