Purge forces us as a collective society to face the reality of racism that J. Marion Sims’s legacy as the “Father of Modern Gynecology” was built upon.
Sims iewed Black peopl’s bodie as disposable specime, ploin and tortun hem through experimental procedures for the purposes of medical research. the 1800s, t was considered unethical to view beneath a woman’s skirt as a physician. When Sims accepted Anarch, a seventeen-year-old enslaved black woma s a patient, e made her get on all fours atop his operating table while completely nude, and shoved a speculum inside her vagina. He invited crowds of townspeople to “see what no man had seen before.” Sims attempted to close Anarcha’s vesicovaginal fistula over 30 times without anesthesia between 1845 and 185, despite the fact that e had used the anesthetic ether for his white patients 5 years prior to Anarcha’s first operation.
As part of her exhibition White Man On A Pedestal with Kenya (Robinson), Garner recreated the seven-feet tall statue of Sims in Central Park, encasing it in a thin layer of silicone. Once peeled, his ‘skin’ lies in situ on an operating table. In Purge, Garner will perform a vesicovaginal fistula closure on the Skin of Poneros. Several body cast models featured in her work Rack of those Ravaged and Unconsenting will also assist in this procedure. Using dissection as a mean to get to the trut, he symbolic mutilation of Sims’s body on a surgical table seeks to und his istorically raised posture.