Presenting an exclusive preview of Rad Hourani’s Unisex Anatomy for Exit Magazine
Our consciousness inhabits an ephemeral case with an expiry date. Thus, medicine and art throughout history have been primarily preoccupied with human anatomy. The role of doctors is to prolong our lives, and art elevates our consciousness. Neoplatonic artists elevate the spirit by dissecting human anatomy, representing the sublime. We find comfort in the illusion of what the maxim opus of our bodies could be in the same way a sonnet in poetry makes a tragedy bearable to our senses. Bodies become landscapes in which we escape the fragility of our human suffering and condition. In genesis, woman and man were separated into two genders. A piece of male anatomy was taken to create his female counterpart. The separation and function of genders has endured the test of time society. Aristotle dissected human bodies to discover the secret of life. Phideas sculpted flawless bodies by using the perfect attributes of each model to create his ideal of human anatomy. In renaissance, anatomy research articulated by Davinci’s Vitruvian Man, exemplified the relationship between geometry and the human proportions in architecture and painting.
In the 20th Century films dictated the codes of the quintessential body. In the 21st Century, it is Fashion who gives the codes of the Contemporary ideal of anatomy. The elongated bodies that appear on runway shows and on editorials have trickled down to celebrity and film culture to become seamless. Rad Hourani’s photographic and digital dissection of human anatomy juxtaposes genders to questions the separation and the illusion of social constructs that divide gender and race. He uses flawless filiform and athletic bodies for their evanescent qualities. For Rad Hourani their anatomical resemblance and majestic attributes allow us to see the divisions of gender and race as a mere illusion.
In 1504, Michelangelo’s David a majestic muscular mala sculpture which represented “pure” virility. Yet, the ideal of the female by the same master in the Sistene Chapel depiction of Sibyl, was inspired by the sketch of a male. Through a similar, yet deconstructed process, UNISEX ANATOMY, Rad Hourani digitally dissects the human body with medical precision to create sensual genderless compositions. Rad’s meta-question of the study of human anatomy came from a simple question: before garments there is body. It took him a year to understand human morphology, and by its deconstruction he reconstructed garments that unify both sexes and transcend age, race and religion. This is the essence of Rad Hourani’s search for purity in his own neo-platonic ideals. He pushed his study of anatomy as he was creating his first Couture collection, the level of complexity reflected his research. It has translated into the pictorial dissection of the body that is now UNISEX ANATOMY photography. They are genderless, the purity of the form takes the foreground of each composition. Rad Hourani’s nudes are skillfully and graphically positioned that we loose sight of the gender and give way to the landscape in which we are immersed when looking at them. We see light, shadow, movement, and a torso becomes genderless.
Each series conveys a different approach in search of the magnificence and balance of a harmonious language. He makes an incision to separate the faces and bodies that are immaculately symmetrical. Rad Hourani uses repetition in which all the parts of the canvas become unified while deconstructed pieces that create a new type of harmony. Yet, each face and body evokes a strong singularity, it is this artful combination between individuality and universality that is the new paradigm. In Rad Hourani’s neoplatonic representation of the nude, the dissection functions as a unifying force. He treats the body as a language.
The dynamism of a male body gives way to a tableaux in which some anatomical elements are readable, while others function as “trompe l’oeil” in which an arm may look like a leg. Rad Hourani’s ability to represent anatomy in geometrical forms create multiple readings, we are transfixed and we recompose the images as a viewer we can create new meanings. The repetition elongates the bodies and turn them into sinuous forms. The register of a male muscular body to a slender one speaks of the complexity of our understanding of beauty as he believes that these archetypes change from generation to generation. UNISEX ANATOMY is part illusion and statement that articulates a contemporary gaze and condition: a multiplicity of believes.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAD HOURANI
HAIR BY Kayla MiChele (Streeters New York) at Atelier Management using Bumble and bumble
MAKE UP BY LUC BOUCHARD FOR MAC
TEXT BY SAULO MADRID
Models : Koné at Red, Louis at Red, Salieu at Red, Nathalie at Elite, Tatiana at Fusion, Branko at Fusion, Duncan at Soul, Eian at Soul, Jae at Soul, Irina at Marilyn.