I listened to BBC Radio 1’s “clinic” the other evening talking about sex (as in male/female), gender and identity, it was fascinating with young people calling in to talk about their “transitioning” hormone treatments and acceptance from family and friends. It is an issue that I have never really considered – effectively being trapped in the wrong body must be terrible.
I then began thinking about Jenny Saville’s work portraying transgender bodies and how we identify ourselves is an inherent part of not only identity but the way in which we form relationships with the outside world. Saville’s often brutal depiction of the body and human form is raw and arresting. For me her nude paintings often surgical in their detail fascinate me (pink, squashed, rolls of fat and obese skin folds or skin peeling off a woman’s face) she plays with our connection with nudity, self-identity and what may repulse others may be deemed beautiful by some and I love that exploration in her work.