Through historical perspective, the cornice can be seen as a decorative architectural element, originating from classical architecture, positioned as the crowning form of the exteriors or the interiors of buildings. In 'Cornice', Yedidia investigated the link between the titular decorative architectural element and the female body. The artist employed the traditional technique of cornice making using a running-mould, and juxtaposed this tool with the image of her body profile, taken when it best matched Western society’s beauty standards: gracefully stretched with her arms up as a caryatid, appearing thin and static.
The cornice moulding process consists of repetitive contrasting actions; a smeared layer of plaster is followed by the shaving action of the mould’s metal profile, repeatedly, until it reaches its seemingly seamless form. This demanding process of opposing actions - smearing and shaving - resonates with the contradicting expectations that are so familiar to the female existence. Be beautiful, but appear effortless; be thin, but curvy in all the right places; be career driven, but also raise a family.
This project consists of a series of long duration performative acts in which the artist moulds several angles of her body profile: crops of legs, breasts, buttocks, and last her entire body. Being done vertically, the main challenge of this technique is to work fast enough before the plaster hardens, thus preventing the material from sagging. 'Cornice' depicts an inner- battle against time and gravity.
Cornice, 2020, installation/performative sculpture series, plaster, metal, wood, various sizes, photo by Jessie Yingying Gong
Running Moulds from Cornice, 2020, metal, wood, various sizes
Breast-Belly from Cornice, 2020, plaster, 49 x 77 x 11 cm
Ankle-Neck from Cornice, 2020, plaster, 135 x 62 x 13 cm
Cornice, 2020, performative sculpture series, plaster, metal, various sizes
Installation photos by LNDWstudio, performance photos by Jessie Yingying Gong
This project was made possible thanks to the Mondriaan Fund
Cornice, 2020, excerpt from film, original length 00:08:54, cinematography by Michaela Lakova