Limerick, Ireland
Shin Egashira, Beauty of our Pain, originally made in 1997, reworked in 2010

Shin Egashira

Japan / UK

In the basement of the Tower of London, glass display cases contain beautiful instruments that were used in the Middle Ages for turning, twisting and stretching the body, particularly during periods of political transition and religious turmoil. For a long time, torture and punishment were not only closely related to politics, but also reflected the art of architecture, which itself can be seen as a kind of machine for exploring disciplines that require a reformation of our body senses. Architecture can produce mental and physical stress, but it can also provoke curiosity.

Beyond the Tower is London today. If you look behind the large glass façade of a modern building, you will often witness a similar relationship between torture and building. In a large fitness gym, bodies are wrapped around and trapped within many types of structures not so far removed from the machines used to torture Guy Fawkes. Here, the enclosed structure builds around the body, and the body is moulded to fit the structure. Beauty of Our Pain is an installation composed of reconstructed fitness machines that would not have looked out of place in the Middle Ages. They represent fitness and the act of confession – the extraction of beauty through pain.

(Text: e v+ a – matters catalogue, 2010)


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