‘Body of Work’ review for photo-eye, Book of the Week

Daniel Boetker-Smith reviews ‘Body of Work’ for photo-eye, Book of the Week.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

“Today Radiohead released their first new song in years. I’d set aside the afternoon especially to write this review of Bruce Connew’s newest publication ‘Body of Work’, with no idea that the quintet from Oxford who have crafted the soundtrack of my adult life would inadvertently tell me how to read and understand Connew’s book.

‘Street Spirit (Fade Out).’ I can remember the lurid lines: ‘Cracked eggs dead birds / scream as they fight for life / I can feel death / can see its beady eyes.’ These words have been etched into my psyche since I first heard them in 1995. Hearing these lines again today after a number of years it seems that nothing can more accurately describe Bruce Connew’s new book. Connew has been around, making books, since the late 80s, and he is somewhat of a national treasure in New Zealand; a prolific, smart and eminently generous artist. But he’s never made a work like this before, and I’m not sure he ever should or could again. This is his ‘Heart of Darkness’.

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“Pascal Invented Horse Porn From the Void” ASX

American Suburb X features ‘Body of Work’, September 18, 2016.

Truly obliged for Brad Feuerhelm’s adamant, high-order thoughts on ‘Body of Work’.


An excerpt ...
“What Bruce Connew’s book “Body of Work” recalibrates is the very interesting and historical metaphor of the horse, its breeding and its human-made enslavement towards a metaphorical barrage of existential delight. The horses in his work exist in a dim yet calculated light, full of treason and “nightmare” alike. The subjects within seem to wonder into the flood of a dim light bulb enhancing the theatrical aspect of their surrounding. There is little by way of human intervention in these images, but there are traces in a few of the photographs- notably the image of the person guiding the steed’s hard pulsing cock into the mare’s moist crevice. The light refracts off her in a discomforting way. The crevice is wet and perhaps even enhanced by lubrication and it looks to pulse like flesh in a David Cronenberg Film.”

“I wish to look at Bruce’s horses with a gleeful eye of doom. Everything feels somehow cyclical yet absent, the trials of life repeated. It is one of those books that landed in the post box that I did not ask for, but it is possibly the best book I have seen in a long time. Its execution and content are alluring and uncomfortable for reasons one does not see at first. It is like the void of existence that Pascal saw when contemplating his potential death in the waters of the Seine below…the current of life, its progression and its never-ending possibility for decline are all very akin to the work in the tome. Highest Recommendation.”

“Pascal Invented Horse Porn From the Void”


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