The Way We See Things: Erica Gressman: Limbs

Written By Alyssa Pappas

Photo by A.Pappas

When I first arrived to the Krannert Art Museum on Thursday night, I had no idea what to expect.  Having attended the Solo exhibit the previous night, and witnessing a completely new type of art that I had never seen before, I had no idea what was about to happen.  Little did I know, my mind was about to be blown, yet again.

In the middle of the room was what I thought to have been a sculpture of a human with additional limbs. Yet, I remember seeing it move a few times and believing that there was an actual person in it. I was right!  The artist herself was in the so called sculpture with extra limbs.

Photo by A.Pappas

As the hum of the people talking in the room quieted down, the ‘sculpture’ began to increase the radius of its movements.  Making the drama of the whole piece truly come out. She began to move around and tear off each extra limb, one by one, while hanging from a rope in the center of a cage. I would later find out all of the meaning behind everything, which is what intrigued me the most.

Throughout the performance I experienced a number of emotions.  The most prevalent ones included: confusion, un-comfort, and acceptance.  Overall, I felt as if I was trying to hard to analyze what everything meant.


Photo by A.Pappas

After her performance, we got the chance to find out the meaning behind her art and her movement. It ended up being all about loss and coping with her identity after loss. What I found the most interesting about this discussion was how everyone who talked shared a very different perspective on her performance.  Everyone saw it in a different light.


It was a very interesting discovery for me to see how everyone saw what she did in a different way. And it made me want to reflect back on myself as to why I saw her performance differently than everyone else, and what that meant about how I see things.

Photo by A.Pappas

I think that next time I witness a new performance, I definitely need to naturally let myself experience it for what I think it is versus what I think it is supposed to mean.  Eventually leading to my own discovery of myself.

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