Andrew Krasnows "Shitkickers" and Lacanian Psychoanalysis - © J M John Marshal ,Srishti School Of Dry Lab Art


Art, certainly has trespassed its boundaries on the media from that which is made. Bioart, the art practice of using the biological materials in the art or having a biological medium, has been raising as the new form of art, which combines unexpected and non-classical approaches to the body of art and the artistic perception.

Well, Andrew Krasnow the artist well known for using the human skin as the media for his art explores the ways by which his art expresses the universality of human suffering and pain. The art work "shitkickers" is a pair of boots made from the skin donated by volunteers for medical research. The pair of boots although seem doesn't have a shocking content, reveals some controversial attitude once we are informed that those pairs of boots are made from the source of human skin.

How does "shitkickers"  displays the human pain? why it is viewed as a controversial art work by its critics? In order to address these questions let we take a lacanian psychoanalytic approach.

The reason for a sudden shock when we find that the work is formed from the human skin is that it reveals "too much" about the "real" human condition. The artwork certainly represents a representation of the rupture of ego. the ego allows us to conceive a structured, organized view of the human body. In more precise words the consistency of human body. The force what freud had defined as the one which is a threat to the consistency image of the human body is the "death drive", the negative and the mortifying force.

In this way the "shitkickers" reveals about the inconsistency of human body. The human body in reality is inconsistent, while the to cope up with the failure of this inconsistency a certain stable "ego" figure of the human body is represented. "Shitkickers" challenges this image of consistency, the fantasy figure of a structured body. The "misplaced skin" which threatens the "image of body", with "the misplaced skin taking the shape of a boot,rather than covering the body".

A further clear analysis can be done if we apply the concept of abjection by Julia Kristeva. The skin in the work of andrew is certainly out of the symbolic order of the battery of signifiers that signify "body".  




"since the abject is situated outside the symbolic order, being forced to face it is an inherently traumatic experience, as with the repulsion presented by confrontation with filth, waste, or a corpse - an object which is violently cast out of the cultural world, having once been a subject. Thus the sense of the abject complements the existence of the superego - the representative of culture, of the symbolic orderin Kristeva's aphorism, "To each ego its object, to each superego its abject""-Kristeva

The above passage explains why the snickers are named as "shitsnickers", the one that is filth or waste that we exclude outside, to remain in the symbolic order. As we see that as the sense of abject complements to the existence of the superego/the cultural body, no wonder Andrew kransnows "shitkickers" and his other works in his own words reflect the American nationalism.

The trauma or the lacanian "REAL" which we know is the only universal one. Hence no wonder "shitkickers" specify the universal trauma, yet representing the culture in whom the artist is located.

Bioart as we see in the work of Andrew Kransnows represents the trauma of the artist, rather via the theme of the art, but via the medium of the art itself !.