[NSFW] Nude Performance Artist Planks in Philosophical Self-Portraits

Though nudity and self-portraiture are staples of the art canon, the way Chiara Mazzocchi incorporates both in her visual and performative works is anything but usual. The Italian artist’s use of her own body is meant to be more than just an exploration of her personal self, instead functioning as an attempt to “express the authenticity of the human being connected and relating with nature and the universe and spaces, as a symbol of purity, energy, and light,” in the artist’s own words.

The interconnectivity of the human experience and nature is most evident inHeartbeat, a short video consisting of a series of still images where the artist’s abstracted body is overlaid in gigantic proportions over as serene lake scene. After the natural backdrop fades to black, it remains still, while different photographic overlays of Mazzocchi’s body dance freely around it, transparent enough to become one with the scenery. Assorted sounds of natural life add a soothing, meditative feel to the already tranquil piece.

Nature gives way to knowledge in (CON)COSCIENZA (With Conscience), another short performative video. Here Mazzocchi is seen in a plank position, resting on top of two stacks of books acting as pillars to her body. The stacks of books grow larger and larger and Mazzocchi herself it taken to higher and higher heights, a metaphorical representation of growth through learning. At the ending climax of the video her body comes crashing to the floor and the books disappear, embodying the textual description of her work, “Knowledge without awareness is useless.”

Though Mazzocchi’s nude body adds an interesting and unified aesthetic to these works and others, the artist’s intentions with this stylistic approach lie elsewhere: “My naked body comes into my self-portraits only when there is a concept,” she tells Creators. “I have never used my body as aesthetic means, but as a vehicle, experience, dynamic piece, surface life, vibration, magnetic field, truth, and a representation of the present moment.”

These complex notions are likely derived from Mazzocchi’s educational background: “In the past I was also a (mostly contemporary) dancer,” she explains. “I have enough knowledge of my body and my limits and this is why I started to make spontaneous performances and body installations.”

As for the cause of her shift to performance and self-portraiture from dance, the artist leaves me with another philosophical remark: “Photography and video art are a powerful medium to explain humanity to mankind, through self-analysis and self-awareness. I think that human beings should not find themselves, but build themselves, and art is just an opportunity to illuminate my path and the path of others.”

To check our Chiara Mazzocchi’s performative portfolio, head over to her website.

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