The Work of Mu Boyan

Emblematic of society’s collective fascination with the epidemic of morbid obesity and our fixation on body shape, Mu Boyan’s controversial sculptures of bulging bodies articulate a view of fatness as ‘other’.  It is clear from looking at these theatrical bodies that Boyan has directed his viewers to be voyeurs of his work, examining each ripple, swell and fold of his round figures.  Strangely appealing and almost kitchly sweet, they are desexualised and strangely ambiguous despite their nakedness.  Boyan’s bodies clamber, crouch and roll in groups of identical figures or as solitary individuals searching and climbing unaware that they are being watched.  They have an heir of fun and novelty about them and are striking in their variety of scale from the ornamentally tiny to the uncomfortably large, but all must surely be a comment on a society which over consumes and indulges.  These figures are in sharp contrast to a figure of a starved dog, skin and bone- perhaps representing the consequences of our damaging effect on other living things.  Strangely generically described, his fat sculptures are not disgusting or grotesque but child-like and innocent.  All seem inquisitive and harmless.  They are nonaggressive victims of circumstance and tactile objects there to be examined and watched, exposed by their size rather than their nakedness.

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