I’m going to carve the truth out of you

Erin Solomons, selection from I was dead, and they were telling me I was only wounded, 2018-2020. Digital gicleé print. © Erin Solomons.

Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is intentional harm towards a person’s self without the intention of death. It can be a physical way to express emotions that feel limited by language or to alleviate the tension of withholding intense feelings. Through Solomons’ practical research, she highlights the need for interpersonal compassion towards individuals who feel isolated with their trauma. NSSI was, and to an extent still is, judged as a defect of character.

For five years, the artist Erin Solomons utilised photographs from the American Civil War as a metaphor to critically assess embodied narratives from childhood trauma. Solomons embedded endurance performance in her research through being dragged in an American Civil War battlefield; self-induced collection of her bodily fluids; and audio-visual documentation of animal carcasses in butcheries. Through this accumulation of mediums that are historically linked to proof of trauma, Solomons fragments, refigures, and destroys their assumed validity of events. She shifts the emphasis from the results of her creative methods to her experience of making them. A corpse does not have to handle living with trauma. If anything, dead bodies are humanised out of necessity for the living. Feeling less than human, can feel like living as a corpse. We are however human we consider ourselves to be.

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