Unapologetically Savage - Nikki Coffelt

(3 - 14 April 2019 at Black Cat Gallery - Space 2, Melbourne, Australia)

This body of work (2016-2018) is a rendering of the tension between our primal, organic mammalian impulses and socialisation.

Where there is conflict between what we are hard wired for movement, pleasure, passion, sensuality, sexuality, intimacy, aggression/self-protective impulses and the (familial, social, religious) conditioning that has been programmed into us, we can become confused and dissociated. From our instinctual knowing, our bodies, our creative potential... from Earth herself. At what cost have we domesticated ourselves?

When we mentally categorise and reduce our visceral impulses (and other people) into “good” versus “bad,” “civilised” versus “savage,” “lower” versus “higher” and “in” versus “out” we set up the conditions for repression and oppression of self and others. The result of which can be soul loss, depression, addiction, violence and/or sexual perversions. We also reinforce the exact conditions required for genocide, racism and human/planetary exploitation. We sever connection to the infinite power, pleasure and creativity that are available to us.

Creative tension and paradox (i.e. the capacity to hold polarised constructs at the same time) is essential in catalysing human evolution. And yet modern society has become so obsessed with efficiency, instant gratification and productivity (while putting forth as little effort as possible) that we have become largely unwilling and unprepared to withstand tension and ambiguity. Both are necessary for growth.

We must begin to cohere historically polarised and disparate elements. In the culture, for certain, but also in our own psyche.

My work is about time-traveling to reclaim humanity’s most savage and base origins in order to evolve. This series is a literal transmutation of raw, primitive energy. Because a wise woman once said:

“When the sexual energy of the people is liberated, they will break the chains.”

Artist. Nikki Coffelt - Photographed by Nani P