Rachel Levit Ruiz invites us into her Mexico City studio to share her process behind the series Body Language, from sketch to gold leaf application.
“During a visit to my acupuncturist last year, I complained about a tension I felt in my jaw. He instructed me to massage it every day and to be conscious about grinding my teeth. He ended our visit speculating that 'there is something you are not saying.' That experience ignited the idea for this series and a deeper exploration into the mind/body connection.”
“Our bodies’ functions are so implicit that we routinely take them for granted until they begin to malfunction. Daily actions like sleeping, breathing and eating are often overlooked and undervalued. In my experience, the conventional medical ethos is biologically determinate, in that, physical well-being is independent from emotions and socio-political realities. The presumption that the mechanism of the body is detached from the mind is myopic. Experienced trauma causes conflict between the emotional and rational mind; and the body bears the burden. ”
“Traditionally, those suffering from illness in Mexico would offer ‘milagritos’ (golden votive charms in the form of various body parts) with the hope of healing an ailment or for expressing gratitude after being cured. These images were produced as a holistic expansion on that idea.”
“The Spanish word 'piel' (pyehl), translated as 'skin' in English, is more faithful to 'the essence of our container.' It can be considered an indicator for physical and psychological well-being due to its sensitivity.”
“[This work is] inspired by the medieval medical tradition of Humorism. It was believed that the body was healthy if the four humors were balanced: black bile, yellow bile, phlegm and blood. Terms like 'bilious' or 'melancholia' remain in use from that era.”
“The spine, like the trunk of a tree, represents stability and support. A conduit for intracorporeal communication made possible by the nerves.”
“Although breathing is almost always involuntary, it can become conscious and intentional. Our breath is both affected by our emotional state and can regulate our emotions when controlled and focused. The Latin word 'Inspirare' means 'to breath into.' All creation starts with the breath.”