Beloved Bodies II presents a compilation of artworks drawn from the Barjeel Art Foundation collection that investigate representations of the human body, traversing themes of language, landscape, trauma and remembrance. Each work alludes to the body in a variety of ways, ranging from more literal representations of physical forms to subtle references to bodily experiences in certain social, natural and political contexts.
The exhibition’s title is loosely inspired by French theorist Roland Barthes’ writings on the dynamics of love and desire. Barthes uses the term ‘beloved body’ to refer to the object of a lover’s desire, whether that is a person, an object or a place. The word l’autre—the other—is his way of describing the beloved or that which provokes in us a yearning to connect with or possess this other. In the grips of such longing, the body becomes a sensory device that responds to internal and external stimuli. Beloved Bodies II offers glimpses into different bodily encounters, including romantic and spiritual love, political oppression and gendered marginalisation.