← Philament 5: Ornament

the limbs of desire are many

Uli Krahn






The drawings are ornamental perversions of Gray’s Anatomy (1858), a textbook still used in medical practice; the ship is from a celestial map of the Southern hemisphere by an uknown Dutch cartographer from the 1750s. I used pen and ink and transparent paper, and added nothing (apart from tracing the tattoo from my arm), only shifted the paper and started again, reversed it, hallucinating new body parts. Like the formalised and restricted depiction of body parts in Gray’s Anatomy, people often think that desires are simple and few, such as wanting sex, money, food, love and so on. Once you start switching perspectives, this simplicity explodes into beautiful and terrifying shapes (not unlike the limbs of dead people depicted in the anatomy book), which reach beyond themselves in many directions. The moving and reaching and overlapping of limbs literally produces new patterns which surround the shape of the known like a decorated frame.

Uli Krahn is currently working on making words walk around in her pictures; writing an Australian aesthetic theory, which she hopes to submit as a PhD in Australian literature; editing her poems into pictures; and dismantling the concept of migrant, because nobody ever takes her for one. She is obsessed with antipodean inversion and head-footed monsters. Recent publications include works in earlier issues of Philament and Southerly (64, no. 1, “Art and Schizophrenia””).