Claudia Hart, ‘Ophelia’, 2008, bitforms gallery

A screen-based animation, “Ophelia” (2008) sets the body of a naked woman adrift at the bottom of the ocean. Ophelia floats at the bottom of a sea littered with refuse and drifting fragments of plastic bags. Although visually, these plastic bags are seductive, reflecting light softly, they are nevertheless Pelagic plastics, non-biodegradable, now littering our oceans to a life-threatening degree. Fish eat six times more Pelagic plastic fragments than plankton, and the hormone disruption to fish and birds, and now to our own food chain, by this has not yet been measured. Ophelia is therefore an ode to loss, not just of youth and love as in Hamlet, but also to our own natural world and the possibility of living harmoniously within it.

Evoked by the dreamy atmosphere of an underwater environment, this figure is caught in an ambiguous state of death or sleep. Although the advanced techniques of dynamic particle and optical simulation have been used to produce this imagery, Ophelia is nevertheless a tragic and a romantically erotic figure. Hamletʼs lover, Ophelia has been written about by literary critics as a feminist figure embodying the Electra complex, a mad woman who drowned herself for love of a man who murdered her father. In the archetypal Pre-Raphaelite painting Ophelia (1852), John Everett Millais created a “dense and elaborate pictorial surfaces based on the integration of naturalistic elements...

Framed screen: 23.5 x 15 x 3.5" / 60 x 38 x 9 cm
Shelf: 16.8 x 9.6 x 3.5" / 42.5 x 24.4 x 9 cm.

About Claudia Hart

Claudia Hart’s works juxtapose the futuristic and the classical, combining 3-D animation software with such canonical images as the nude female form and still lifes of apples. Hart presents themes of death and the inevitable ravages of time, offset by a vision of an alternate technological universe in which plastic bodies elude decay. Though patently artificial, the figures in Hart’s film installations emote in a recognizably human way as they are put through often agonizing processes involving containment and atrophy. For the series “PhotoMortifications” (2007-2009), Hart superimposed 3-D images of decomposing statues on to photographs of large modern public interiors. In a similar interplay between artifice and authenticity, “The Real and the Fake” (2011) features photographed edibles of questionable nutritional value with computer-generated images of flawless apples, inspired by the decline in the quality of food.

American, b. 1955, New York, New York, based in Chicago & New York

Group Shows

Waterfall Mansion and Gallery, 
New York,

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