Idiopath acts as a kind of distorted self-portrait of the artist and their complicated relationship with their own healing journey. Through print-based installation practice, Buckland-Willis explores their connection with their pain through the lens of the increasingly medicalised body. Having undergone significant orthopedic surgery in their early teens, the artist lives in a body that is not entirely their own, supported by titanium rods and screws to hold their spine in place, they exist in a strange liminal space between the natural and unnatural. Simultaneously healing and healed, their body is both soft and rigid, strong, yet incredibly fragile.
Using stills from an earlier video work Crepitus which documented a chronic pain flare-up episode, the artist mapped the vector points of the body as they contorted themselves in an effort to relieve their discomfort. These unusual shapes that were created through this process were fascinating to the artist, as they represented a kind of simplified, almost mathematical graphing of the pain experience - a strange attempt to turn the unquantifiable into visual data.
By creating this visual language for discomfort, Buckland-Willis ritualises what is otherwise meaningless. The term idiopathic referring to something medically unexplainable or 'random', they combat this existential question mark by reaching their own understanding of what it is to exist as a young person with chronic pain.
Special thanks to Megalo Print Studio, ACT