Contextualising the Developing Self in Helen Chadwick’s Ego Geometria Sum’

Imogen Racz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter discusses Helen Chadwick’s autobiographical work Ego Geometria Sum (1982-84) in relation to her development of ideas, reading of Arthur Koestler’s books The Sleepwalkers and Ghost in the Machine, the development and final display of the work, and its artistic and theoretical contexts. It unites universal ideas with subjective memories, and as with contemporary postmodern discussions, the installation destabilises post-enlightenment notions of self. The installation incorporated ten objects chosen to represent stages in her development, onto which she developed photographic collages that conflated past with present, utilising her performative adult body to engage with these memory-objects. Chadwick was a meticulous artist whose visual language was complex and inventive, who believed that objects of knowledge become part of one’s being, but that you develop according to what you explore.

Key words

Helen Chadwick, Ego Geometria Sum, Koestler, mathematics, memory, identity, objects, photography.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArt and Dance in Dialogue: Body, Space, Object
EditorsImogen Racz, Sarah Whatley, Marie-Louise Crawley, Katerina Paramara
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-44085-5
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2020


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