melbourne

Sally Smart

Robert Lindsay Gallery

This exhibition of Sally Smart’s large collage constructions was a collection of madwomen and female freaks. In Smart’s accomplished and ambitious images, these extraordinary female figures were vivisected and scattered across the gallery walls in reassembled satin, calico, canvas, and paper body-parts, like a host of gender-conscious Shrouds of Turin. Smart divides and stretches her figures so that their gestures and acrobatic contortions collide and overlap with a cubistic sleight-of-hand; the division between inside and outside, usually marked by the body’s envelope of skin, became blurred.

In The Anatomy Lesson, 1994–95, a group of these women dissects and seems to discuss a clothed cadaver whose sex is, perhaps significantly, also female. This piece represents a continuation of Smart’s previous series about the Fox Sisters—spiritualist frauds who toured America during the 19th century—as

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