As far as recurring motifs go, Alessandro’s Boezio’s is pretty clear. The Italian is enamoured with anatomy, but not in its usual incarnation, rather he manipulates his subjects to include multiple hands and/or feet, a study into the two things that define us as human.
So, what is it that makes this man so attached to these parts of the human body? To be clear, it isn’t just hands and feet, but almost. In his sculptures, bodies become manipulated into abstract forms, a deconstruction of the biology that you and I might recognise as human, suddenly becomes something human-esque.
Under the hand of the artist, Boezio develops a new anatomy and a new language to shape how we talk about, think of and engage with the themes presented in the bizarre and surrealistic sculptures that he creates. There’s an element of the mad doctor about him, somebody who is playing with nature, remaking the image of God’s children into his own. He’s taking control of his artistic vision, standing in opposition to what nature intended.
In a moment in time when we're approaching three decades since Dolly the Sheep - the world’s first cloned mammal - came to life, his sculptures start to feel a little more at home. Sure, they’re strange to look at, intriguing for this very reason, yet they’re not as out-of-place as they perhaps should be.
The manipulation of biology has been a newsworthy topic over the last several years, with the spine-tingling notion of the ‘designer baby’, whereby parents can genetically engineer certain physical traits within their children, becoming a part of commonplace discourse. Compounding the far-reaching applications of the manipulation of nature is the more general application, through procedures like plastic surgery and dental treatments.
What this all amounts to is the fact that our lives are becoming increasingly intertwined with the way humans can be engineered. Is this what Boezio is commenting on? We can only speculate, but the hyper-versions of these increasingly common procedures that the Italian’s sculptures highlight hint towards a sort of satirical look at the absurdity of our lives. He's not adding to it, but pointing at it.
Underpinning the philosophical elements of the debates raised by his work is an inherent dark humour. The titles suggest that the artist’s knowledge is vast. From Hebrew blessings to ancient Greek goddesses, Boezio’s sculptures take in the whole gamut of human progress and existence, using the timeless to poke fun at the present time.
Standing over all of his work is the sense of symbolism. It is our hands that made us who we are, that built the world we live in. It is our feet that got us to where we are right now, in this moment. Therefore, to answer the question posed at the beginning - what is it that makes this man so attached to this part of the human body? - the answer, in all of its complexities, can be boiled down to something simple. They are everything.
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