Mannequin, silverware, caulk, spraypaint
have heard “it’s not about the food” a countless number of times at this point in my recovery. There is so much beyond the food, but for years I refused to acknowledge the pain that I masked by not eating or by purging. In an attempt to show that to the world through my art, I made the outside layer of the female form out of silverware which simultaneously hides the female form beneath it, and draws attention to the outward appearance of the female.
Mannequin, embroidery floss, buttons, matte medium
Unraveled serves as a visual representation of the overflowing beauty within each of us. I created Unraveled from only thread, buttons, and glue in hopes of creating an illusion in which the viewer was not immediately aware of the presence of the materials I used. The thread covered buttons spilling out from the neck of the mannequin and winding around the body show the overflowing beauty we each contain whether that beauty is present right on the surface or rising from the deepest places hidden within us but nonetheless present in each of us in one way or another. From the side the layers resemble a cross-section, giving the impression that the viewer can see through to the inside of the form, which is glowing red. The piece highlights illusions and distortions we face regarding our bodies and internal feelings.
Mannequin, retired dishware, grout
It is not about the food on the plate or the number on the scale. It is about so much more; but that is not what most people are taught about an eating disorder. Until trying to recover from mine, I had no idea about the psychological aspects of an eating disorder or the courage and strength it takes to recover from one. The general public and education’s focuses are on the symptoms and side effects of such disorders. For a long time I was ashamed of mine, and not sure how to broach the subject with friends and family. I realized it was not something to be ashamed of that I suffered from an eating disorder. In fact recovering from an eating disorder has been hardest thing I have ever had to do and the fact that I have been able to do so is a cause for celebration. Each day I am reminded of why I am working so hard for this new life I have earned. I have smashed, crushed, and broken dishes. I have reconfigured them into something completely new to show more than just the superficial layer of eating disorders. These disorders are not about vanity and beauty, but rather pain, anguish and feelings of defeat. A life without those feelings is worth fighting for.
Fabricated and forged steel
/ˈfrəsˌtrāt/ verb prevent (a plan or attempted action) from progressing, succeeding, or being fulfilled.The frustration of never fitting into the form. It’s about the vulnerability of constantly recreating ourselves and altering who we are in pursuit of figuring out our identities. Taking the bits we are handed and making them fit to what we perceive ourselves to be. The trials and tribulations of growing up and experiencing traumas. Different life experiences that leave their marks. Fitting together what I can to create some semblance of a being. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Constant confusion muddled thoughts. I’ve formed my identity from the experiences I’ve been given. This piece went through several stages of development much like each one of us does. I started by cutting puzzle pieces out of a large piece of sheet metal. I then forged and hammered each piece to fit over the mannequin form. Welding them together around the mannequin I created a new body using the mannequin as a means to an end rather than an end in itself.
Fabricated steel, bubble wrap, cardboard box
This sculpture is a representation of a state of mind I talk about often: self-preservation mode. Buried within this bubble wrap and metal form is a cardboard box. The box holds my thoughts and memories, my mind, soul, heart-everything that makes me uniquely me. It’s all right there, but so far out of reach, so deeply buried that you can no longer see it. Everyone has that part, which is their true self, their genuine self, and their essence. Some let that part shine through everyday, others bury it, keeping it hidden for no one to find, but it still exists. Self-preservation is meant to keep everyone at an arms distance from you. It’s about keeping protective walls up, pushing people away, and just trying to get by, to manage, to survive. It’s not about thriving.
The steel frame acts as a shell, a rigid barrier holding the work together, giving it form. I wrapped the core in bubble wrap and then wrapped it again, and wrapped it again, and again and again within the steel frame. Together the three elements create a feminine torso in which the most apparent qualities are size and shape-the form it takes, the way it looks. It’s about surface, not the depths within. When the steel frame is removed, and the bubble wrap is unwrapped, what’s left is an adorned, unassuming cardboard box, whose size and shape is meaningless, the only thing that matters about this box is what is on the inside. And isn’t that true of every one of us?
Becca Cerra is an interdisciplinary artist working at the intersection of visual and performing arts. She combines aspects of sculpture with that of contemporary dance and partner acrobatics to create a hybrid art form.