Latin – meaning to revive, rouse again; reawaken (re– again + suscitare, revive)
A Photographic Exhibition by Brett Eloff
‘Resuscitāre’ is a series of black and white images that were initially born out of a request from a handful of graduate student palaeontologists, palaeoanthropologists and archaeologists studying at a leading South African university faculty. These talented young men and women wished to be photographed naked for a calendar, hence the number of images being twelve.
Their original idea was of course based on the story of the Yorkshire ‘Calendar Girls’, which inspired the 2003 comedy film and ultimately gave rise to just about every such calendar, rendering the idea almost ubiquitous.
The nude calendar àla ‘Calendar Girls’ has become somewhat of a rite of passage in western contemporary popular culture and perhaps a symbol of social liberation for its participants.
After some hesitancy on the part of the photographer to produce just another such calendar, the group, together with the artist, conceptualised a set of portraits, which would aim to represent each subject’s specific field of study and would also form the basis for a series of classic and aesthetically inspired images.
The pictures were mostly taken in the winter of 2011 – and at a rate of only two or three at a time. News of the project spread quickly throughout the faculty which most of the students were affiliated to. Reaction from a few senior academics was quite negative, some even adopting a threatening stance. And even though one student withdrew from the project, the rest continued resolutely. The calendar itself though, is yet to be produced.
One of the project’s main protagonists, Aurore Val writes: “These pictures have created quite an interesting debate and sometimes been misunderstood or misjudged, because of the proximity they bring between science and naked bodies. Depicting nude people together with their research object, has been considered by some as provocative and out of place. However, there is absolutely no will to shock, nor to provoke any institution, but just to resuscitate people’s interest for something we are all passionate about, through the esthetic eye of an artist.”
‘Resuscitāre’ will open at 12:00 on 11 August 2012 at the Resolution Gallery, 4 Chester Court, 142 Jan Smuts Ave, Parkwood; and run until 29 August 2012.