<Body Language> Coded Identities


The artworks included in this section of the exhibition speak to the social, political, and artistic codes that shape our interpretation of the body. They challenge the identities imposed upon and assigned to individuals, especially in totalitarian regimes. In questioning representations of gender, race, sexuality and nationality, the artists featured engage with the social and political roles of bodies within the context of varied national and social imaginaries.

These renderings of the body reveal the dominant structures of knowledge and accompanying epistemic violence enacted against specific populations in national and global contexts. Artists depict the body, construct it, engage with it, and at times leave it strikingly absent. The artists and works included within <Body Language> Coded Identities raise timely questions about incarceration, exploitation, production, violence, and the ability of the body to generate social and political meanings.


Top row from left to right: Waldemar Cordeiro, José Luiz Aguirre, Estevam Roberto Serafim, USP, "The Woman who is not B.B.", 1971; Rupert García, "Attica is Fascismo", 1971; Raúl Martínez, "Untitled (Three Friends)", c. 1969; Bottom row from left to right: Felipe Ehrenberg, "Work Secretly titled Upwards and Onwards … whether you like it or not", 1970; Rupert García, "Stop Deportation", 1973; Rubens Gerchman, "The Altar", 1967; Rupert García, "Unfinished Man", 1968.