artist draws body structures topographically with needle and thread into the textile fabric - for example in the work Wrinkle
Lines 4 – Bandage (Body Mapping). With a bandage that wrapped the body from foot to head, individual parts of the body are
embroidered similar to an imprint. Unwrapped and differently arranged, the order of the body is reinvented. In photographic
stagings, body fragments overlap or dissolve. The work Wrinkle Lines 8 – Bandage (Foot-Mapping) is conceived according to
a similar concept. The explicit drawing of body parts into the medical gauze as markings indicates vulnerability, but also
protection and healing.
Topographical principles are also applied in the work of the Breast-Layers and the Hand-Breast-Layers.
They belong to the series of Anatomical Garments on which the artist has been working for 30 years. Following the anatomy
of the human body, she invents shells that make the inside visible on the outside. An Anatomical Garment consists of a sculptural
multi-part clothing, a bag as storage place and transport cover and a scientificlooking operating manual. This describes in
drawings the way of acting and the presentation possibilities of the body sculpture. In addition, the process of assembling
and disassembling is depicted. It underlines the anatomical principle, refers to the cutting pattern as well as to the conception
of the body shells as a flexible sculpture. The packing of the individual parts into the corresponding bags evokes the inherent
In the Cloths, the artist uses materials that are used in the medical field - surgical drapes and
These works started as part of the artistic research project Surgical Wrappings. Aim of the project was
to examine artistically the operating field and gestures of surgery. Shifted threads or embroidered lines in the textile fabric
represent hand gestures and physical structures. In the photographic arrangements, the artist brings the cloths very close
to the body and the operating field transforms into an image field. These images are able to unite ambivalent or contradictory
modes in an expression of corporeality: covering and uncovering, closeness and distance, interior and exterior view, touch
and intervention. Central aspects of the images are spaces that reach deep into the body or evaporate over the surface of
the skin or sometimes exist only as embodied traces.
The simultaneity of inside and outside is also embodied in the sculpture
Ear Object with Bag. It is based on the architectural structure of the inner ear and is worn as a textile object on the outer
ear. It is not without irony that this appears as if it were an oversized piece of jewellery and can also turn into an object
of visual constraint.
Transformation and flexibility are important processes in the works of the bodily fabrics. An oversized
glove becomes a garment and transforms into performative images of curtains, draperies, organs and newly invented bodies.
In her corporeal topographies, Barbara Graf creates a fascinating and independent position of the materialisation and visualisation
of an imaginary body identity, or even self. In her works, she explores corporeality, body representation and body perception
with often irritating clarity and expressive restraint: as torsion between scientifically based investigations and poetic
invention. Of course, particularity of colour and material is inherent to this perceptual and poetic tension.www.op.ac.nz/art