Ciel Variable no. 83
Sarah Sudhoff’s intimate knowledge of cervical cancer triggers a step forward into the conflicted feelings of a patient facing a necessary medical intrusion that must also become a form of public scrutiny. The artist’s self-portrait within the aseptic environment of the hospital reveals a tensed body subjected not only to the inquiring gaze of her doctors, but also, within the space of the exhibition, to the look of total strangers, who witness a highly intimate hypostasis behind which lurks the raw presence of the actual cervical cancer. This striking presence determines her confrontation with a disease the cure for which requires a radical invasion of her body – a body now centered around a foreign presence, producing an emotional fragmentation. Disease and suffering relocate the body at the core of the impaired organs, creating an awareness that the previous muteness of the internal structure has been transformed into an explicit surfacing, therefore stripped of intimacy. And the more so, if we consider the artist’s representations of the ill body within the medical environment, a space designed to survey and exhibit what is unseen.