Contemplating My Pipik
By David Eric Davis
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View Artist's Statement

All images © David Eric Davis 2007


Artist's Statement

I make art to uncover that which is messy, primordial and preconscious in me. In sharing what I find, I push past my own notions of what is dirty and shameful. I also make art in pursuit of the ridiculous.

For this body of work, I collected the lint and hair from my navel for ten years and photographed the most figurative specimens using a high-resolution scanner. The resulting images, each a massively magnified record of one day's harvest, suggest fuzzy, biomorphic figures with luminous bodies and swirling flagella.

The specimens are a direct record of my existence and represent the unique signature of my body. Free from interference from my thinking mind, they are the product of um... er... automatic felting. Am I serious?

"Pipik" (or "pupik") is Yiddish for bellybutton. "Contemplating your pipik," or "navel-gazing," means being turned inward, disengaged from the world. I have wrestled with this disposition in my life and work.

However, the navel is also our source, our connection to where we come from. And, for Bön Buddhists, the navel chakra is the point at which our inborn qualities ripen before manifesting in the outside world. The lamas tell us that the difference between ripened and manifested qualities is simply a matter of awareness. Just like found art.