The Anatomy of Desire

The Anatomy of Desire (1999 – 2011) is a mixed media project which examines the spaces and shapes of desire through sculpture, video, live art, print and photographic works.

Murphy’s sculptural series of casts  – captured inside icy blocks of optical glass- attempt to visualise and memorialise shapes and spaces of sensual experience and contact.

Over 12 years, Murphy invited a wide range of participants around the UK and internationally to donate casts of their kisses and intimate spaces to her project. These were collected through her infamous participatory ‘kiss-in’ events,  private casting sessions and postal open calls.

The casts are then transformed through a series of mould-making processes into a range of positive and negative forms which stand alone or fit together in union.

Murphy uses the magnifying qualities of glass to offer new ways of looking at and exploring the spaces and experiences of intimacy and desire to present a unique survey of the strangely alien forms and insides of our bodies- in ways what we mostly only ever imagine.

‘inside’ (internal female cast), cast lead crystal, 1999
Selected photographic and text works have been developed out of the process of casting which are available in limited editions:


‘object’,( the impression of language), paper, 1999

A small publication, produced to accompany the first presentation of this work for The Gallery at Arts University College at Bournemouth.

This booklet includes commissioned essays from world renowned philosopher Luce Irigary, sexologist Leonore Tiefer and artist Alistair Gentry.


The development of this project has been kindly supported by an individual artist award from ACE, a mid career bursary from artsadmin, Artsway , the text+work programme at Arts University College at Bournemouth , Dartington Glass and The Wellcome Collection.