In the Vessel of my Skin

Sat July 17 - Mon September 27, 2021
In the Vessel of my Skin

Arts Commons Presents 
Ledge Gallery 

In the Vessel of my Skin 
By Nurgül Rodriguez 
Location: Ledge Gallery 

3D Virtual Tour 

During the pandemic, I developed a search exploring the human body in sculpture in a space that represents conflict and obligation of coexistence of body and soul. The body is a barrier between my spiritual world and the physical surroundings. Thus, I wanted to explore how the body occupies this space, and with this motivation I want to make porcelain human figures as an installation art form. I also want to develop an interest in the visual experience and viewer’s expectation of familiarity and discomfort with the figural sculpture installation in a gallery space. I needed to include a staged environment that expresses a vulnerable and fragile combination. With this aim, I decided to cast my own body to make molds for a figurative sculpture.  

This project is the dialogue between an artist living in and becoming – and is a story of making as an immigrant artist, and diasporic individual – and belonging to a new land where there is a longing to be free. As an artist, I believe that I have a responsibility to talk about social, cultural and political and personal concepts through my artistic practice and research.  

Working at the Shaw Art Centre, Medalta Artists in Residency, studios sharing with the artist residents made me work with others collaboratively. Thus, working with my own body helps me articulate, think and work with the human figure as a porcelain sculpture for an audience and /or well-organized and cohesive place. I also focused on collaboration with the material, porcelain, to make life sized sculptures by exploring the processes of making art. I created the group of three figures and need to follow casting, molding processes and slip casting with the emphasis on the artist’s labor, patience and skill involved. 

My studio practice involves a diverse range of materials and processes. I use porcelain clay, body, paper, text and digital image making to create social and political thoughts within installation art and conceptual art. By using text-based artwork, my narrative became not only about immigrants or replaced individuals but also about displaced individuals including refugees, exiles, and travelers who have experienced the processes and procedures in a new country and culture in multicultural context in Canada. I explore how the power of language can form and shape the immigrant individuals and diasporic bodies. 


Nurgül Rodriguez is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary artist and researcher. She will be a PhD student in Adult Education at the University of Calgary/Werklund School of Education starting in Fall 2021. She holds an MFA from the University of Calgary and she recently completed a residency program at Medalta in Medicine Hat and another at AUArts in Calgary, Calgary Allied Alberta Foundation Residency, Esplanade Artists in Residency. Her work is seen in Remai Modern, borderLINE: 2020 Biennial of Contemporary Art, and Esplanade Arts and Heritage Museum, Landed. Her research interests focus on installation, social engagement and collaborative forms of art, the relationship between politics and art, and studio practice contributing to contemporary art. She currently lives in Calgary making, writing, teaching, collaborating and always learning.    

(+15 Level in Upper Centre Court)

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