Lucy Elsie Harvey: the fraudulent anthropologist
Submerge yourself in a world of fear, fantasy and make-believe, where craft processes are used to explore tales of the unknown. Nightmares are turned into a creative reality and the juxtaposition of science and superstition, medical and magical are explored beyond the realms of art itself. Lucy Elsie Harvey describes herself as a “fraudulent anthropologist, manipulating the pre-existing to create enigmatic artefacts that toy with our longing to believe in the fantastic.”
Though bringing nightmares and fears to life would be very far down on the bottom of most people’s wish lists, Harvey’s work conjures an almost mystical and extraordinary necessity to delve into her creations more thoroughly and thus begin to understand a little more about her thoughts behind them.
One of her most interesting artefacts and installation processes is ‘The Backstreet Dentist’ – a collection of weird and wonderful objects centred on the popular fear of the dentist. Having never quite understood the phobia, it was interesting to see Harvey’s perception of the dentistry process. Inspired by the Victorian era, the exhibition showed the technique of ceramic multiples and the sinister connotations of particular fears and anxieties within human behavior – freaky stuff! From porcelain dental moulds and facial structures to dental devices, if you didn’t already have a nervous disposition about visiting the dentist then you will have now!
And what better way to embrace that fear than by adorning yourself in jewellery inspired by the exhibition. Taking her role as a “fraudulent anthropologist” to the next level, Lucy Elsie Harvey manipulates significant pieces by turning them into precious keepsakes. Harvey fills Victorian-inspired, ornate glass bottles with unusual interpretations of what someone would like to have as a keepsake. From porcupine needles and catalysed butterflies to developing the ‘all seeing’ eyeball, to say you would have to be kooky with the upmost creativity to appreciate her work would be an understatement…
I do, however, praise the artist for being controversial in the sense of her willingness to face fears in a rational yet thought-provoking manner: without that, this article would cease to exist. So I urge you to look at the psychological work of Lucy Elsie Harvey and see it for what it is – absurd surrealism at its very best.
Check out her website here.