Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
chromogenic print, framed
124 × 124 × 8cm framed
Museum of Contemporary Art, gift of Andrew and Cathy Cameron, 2008
ABOUT THE ARTWORK
The morphing of shoe and foot that Julie Rrap has made in Overstepping exaggerate the implants, injections and surgical enhancements which have reshaped the female form today. Her high-heeled feet represent a possible endpoint for the idea of the malleable and fashionable body, aimed at the true fashion victim. For those who prefer comfortable shoes, this sci-fi melding of skin and stiletto is more mutilation that enhancement.
Overstepping succinctly encompasses the passage from a surrealist fantasy of femininity to a contemporary reality of modifying the female body, cosmetically and surgically, according to the dictates of fashion. Rrap’s manicured and heeled feet are a frighteningly realistic rejoinder to the surrealist artist Rene Magritte’s La philosophie dans le boudoir(1947), a dehumanised painting of a nightgown with breasts, and a pair of shoes with toes. While Magritte’s work stems from a fetishised fear of what lies beneath women’s clothing, Rrap removes the clothing altogether to engage with a futuristic speculation on where genetic engineering and cosmetic surgery may lead us. Conflating body modification with the commodification and fetishisation of feet – from foot binding to Jimmy Choo – Rrap presents the perils of blindly following fashion, forsaking comfort for a permanent style statement that goes to the flesh and bone.
IN A FUNNY WAY, OVERSTEPPING CONCENTRATES THE THOUGHT. FROM THAT SIMPLE IMAGE, YOU CAN HAVE ALL SORTS OF CONVERSATIONS WHICH ARE TO DO WITH WOMEN WEARING HIGH HEELS – IT’S THE ULTIMATE FETISH IN THE WHOLE FREUDIAN SENSE. IT’S HUMOROUS AND SOME PEOPLE FIND IT A BIT SCARY.
Julie Rrap, 2007
– About the artist
Born 1950, Lismore, New South Wales. Lives and works Sydney.
Julie Rrap’s involvement with body art and performance in the mid-70s in Australia continued to influence her practice as it expanded into photography, painting, sculpture and video in an on-going project concerned with representations of the body. Between 1986 and 1994 Rrap lived and worked in France and Belgium where she exhibited widely. This opportunity to broaden her horizons grounded her work in a more international context and she exhibited in Belgium, Switzerland, France, Holland, Germany and Italy.
Rrap returned to Australia in 1994. In 1995, she held a survey of her work at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne and in 2007, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney held a major retrospective of Rrap’s work titled Body Double, curated by Victoria Lynn.
In 1989 Rrap was included in the Australian Show, which toured to the Frankfurter Kunstverein and other venues in Germany and Edge to Edge to major museums in Japan. Other significant group exhibitions include Photography is Dead! Long Live Photography, (MCA, Sydney, 1995); Systems End: Contemporary Art in Australia (toured to Japan and Korea, 1996); Body (Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1998); Fieldwork: Australian Art 1968 – 2002 (National Gallery of Victoria, 2002); Turbulence: 3rd Auckland Triennial(Auckland, 2008); Biennales of Sydney, 1986, 1988, 1992 and more recently, Revolutions – Forms That Turn, Biennale of Sydney, curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, 2008.
In 2009, 360° Self Portrait won the University of Queensland National Artists’ Self-Portrait Prize, 2009. This work was selected by Victoria Lynn for inclusion in The Trickster at the Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, Korea, 2010, and was also selected for the 14th Jakarta Biennale 2011 and in 2014, The New Media Gallery, Vancouver, Canada. In 2015, Rrap exhibited a new body of work, Remaking the World as the 2015 recipient of the Vizard Foundation Contemporary Artist Project at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne.
Monograph publications on Rrap’s work include Julie Rrap: Body Double by Victoria Lynn, published by Piper Press and the MCA, Sydney, 2007 and Julie Rrap, Piper Press, Sydney, 1998.
Rrap’s work is held in every major Australian public collection as well as many corporate and private collections in Australia and overseas.