Inspired by my nostalgia for my home country’s diminishing natural wildlife and the fragmented memories of observing them as a child in the rural landscape of South Africa, Cutis et Ossium is an investigation on the symbolic metamorphosis of collected animal bones and remnants of skin, transformed into abject specimens, contextualised in objects and jewellery pieces. I aim to preserve the delicate details and sense of wonder I encountered upon finding these remnants in nature, portraying them as cherished artefacts. Their fragility and impermanence are conveyed through the use of glass as the main material, while further symbolism and emotion are captured through the discerning use of colour and form.
The result is a contemporary cabinet of curiosities titled Cutis et Ossium i.e. Skin and Bones, questioning the possibility of the human body to function as a cabinet for these artificial curiosities when worn. Through a novel fusion of bio-morphic abstracted forms in glass with replicated organic remnants in metal, I seek to create a form of visual fiction that delivers a moment of introspection, attraction and repulsion. The forms can be described as slightly recognisable, yet simultaneously unidentifiable, because they are abstracted derivatives of reality. In my work there is a strong symbiosis between the artificial and the natural, representing the human interference with nature, when I transform natural found objects into artefacts. The jewellery depicts curious specimens of exaggerated mutations, envisaging what could happen to fauna in the future, if humans continue with practices that pollute and alter the environment.
If you want to cite this thesis in your own thesis, paper, or report, use this format (APA):
Viljoen, M. (2020). Cutis et Ossium.
Unpublished thesis, Hogeschool PXL, PXL-MAD.