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Throughout the history of art the human form has long provided the inspiration for a diversity of art work, from depictions of the nude in painting and sculpture to the direct use of the body in dance and live performance.

The following pages present some of the ways in which film and video artists have used the body to raise and explore a number of issues which range from the personal to the political. In some work, such as the films of Steve Dwoskin, the image of the body is intensely autobiographical as it speaks of the artists own disability and sexuality. For others, such as the video artist Cate Elwes, the portrayal of her body through the medium of video is a means of challenging stereotypical images of the female, as both mother and object of desire. Other film and video artists portray the body as a site for desire and as an expression of their difference from the norm, as gay men and women. For filmmakers, particularly in the 1970s, performance became part of their explorations of the material qualities of film projection. Often painful, sometimes comic, always challenging; representations of the body in film and video continue to question our perceptions of gender, sexuality and the process of filmmaking itself.

Still from Anju


Artists use the body to question representations of race.


Artists use the body to challenge traditional images of male and female.

Still of Lahire's Arrows


Artists use the body to question perceptions of disability.


Artists use the body to introduce an element of live performance into film and video events.

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