TR Ericsson, Untitled Étant Donnés, Powdered Graphite on Paper, 66 x 50 inches, 2011. 

TR Ericsson, Untitled Étant Donnés, Powdered Graphite on Paper, 66 x 50 inches, 2011. 

Excerpt from Time Based Entities

TR Ericsson's series Étant Donnés consists of black and white photo-drawings of his wife's naked body, which has been rendered corpse-like, arranged in different positions throughout a colorless landscape. Like Marcel Duchamp's installation of the same title, this naked body appears lifeless and fractured. It has been placed gently among tree branches, grasses, and tumbled flowers, an exploration of the potentialities of the unanimated figure: how it engages with the landscape and as an expression of abjection, how it influences our sense of materiality.

Face concealed, legs akimbo, she appears a fresh corpse, flesh still warm and glowing. Is she near dead? Is she undead? Is she performing abjection, the materiality of nature, the Real? There is an otherworldly, dream-like quality to the photographs, which Ericsson has manipulated using graphite, drawing and erasing around her curved limbs, softening both the landscape on which her body is strewn and the air that hovers around her.  Although beautiful, these images reveal an undercurrent of dread, for if this body is realized as a corpse, we must contend with both the intrusion of death and also the arousal the sexualized body engenders. The body is a stand-in for failed desire. 

These images point to the abject, but they do not repulse. Instead they illicit an alluring tension, sexual jouissance, and a yearning for indeterminacy. The sexual potency of the images keeps the trauma of the Real at bay. The “corpse” is limp. She is not a threat but is depicted beautifully, softly, and mysteriously, for if the corpse were bloated, discolored, and decomposing as in a crime scene photo, the confrontation of the Real would be horrific, traumatic. We’d be looking at an image of an actual corpse. We’d be pushed into the enveloping blackness of that room in my dream cabin, forced to reconcile the time-based body and our inherent sense of lack, the impotence of the object a.

TR Ericsson, Untitled Étant Donnés, Powdered Graphite on Paper, 66 x 50 inches, 2010. 

TR Ericsson, Untitled Étant Donnés, Powdered Graphite on Paper, 66 x 50 inches, 2010.