If the human body contains the human soul, it does so at a proximity so close as to be contiguous. Psychic well-being is a form of physical well-being, and vice versa. Similarly, physical sickness manifests psychically. But what if we could transform, even upend this direct relationship? What if we could turn pain and deformity into beauty and delight? The quest to do just that – to take the body’s wounds and failures and turn them, without perversity, into glorious apparition – drives the series of photographs Giuliano Bekor has titled “Transcendence.”
Once the source of Bekor’s imagery is known, the rubric “Transcendence” makes ready sense. The elaborate patterns and painterly colors that dance, literally, before our eyes have been derived from clinical microphotographs of cancer cells. The source of those cells are women, and among the cancers represented are those that afflict women particularly (certain ones to nearly epidemic proportions). What we behold, then, is the immediate image of illness and death. And what Bekor has done is transform this image into one of wonder and allure. This is not black magic: this is artistic imagination applying the power of transformation to that which can destroy us. “Transcendence” indeed: poison has become elixir.