Woo Woo Workout. The Commodification of Spirituality in Expanded Sculptural Practices

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Copyright: Wong, Melinda
Concepts and practices of spirituality have recently undergone significant shifts as they become increasingly incorporated into the homogenising and commodifying mechanisms of contemporary life. This has coincided with a renewed interest in esoteric practices, institutes, cultural products, and themes in contemporary art, with a range of contemporary artists using expanded sculptural practices to critically engage with the commodification of spirituality. Here, the visual language of ‘spirituality’ becomes a vehicle for artists to respond to commodification, through diverse approaches, including the adopted practices of shamanism, animism, Zen Buddhism, and the occult, to ritualising spaces and personal spiritual explorations. This research examines how key selected artists adopt and adapt the language of spirituality in contemporary art contexts. Using practice-led research, which resulted in a written thesis and body of artistic practice, this project argues that artists can engage, creatively and critically, with spiritual ways of understanding the world, to offer possible alternatives to the dominant narratives of contemporary life. Furthermore, this project charts how certain artistic strategies and tendencies in this field illustrate a renewed desire, not only for individual spiritual exploration, but also for social and cultural transformations that promote alternative narratives for possible futures.
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