The Anatomy of Desire

‘the space between us’ (cast of an embrace’ and other cast works at text+work exhibition 2010

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

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 resulting  sculptural series of casts  were then developed as glass sculptures which captured these moments of intimacy  inside icy blocks of optical glass-in an  attempt to visualise and memorialise shapes and spaces of sensual experience and contact.

Each casts is 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.

Selected photographic and text works have been developed which are also available in limited editions:

A small publication has been produced to accompany the first exhibition of this work at The Gallery at Arts University College at Bournemouth in partnership with Artsway. This booklet includes commissioned essays from world renowned philosopher Luce Irigary, sexologist Leonore Tiefer and artist Alistair Gentry and is available to order  from and The Gallery at Arts University College at Bournemouth.


The development of this project has been kindly supported by an individual artist award from ACE, a mid career bursary from artsadmin, Artsway , an AA2A artist residency at Plymouth College of Art and Design, the text+work programme at Arts University College at Bournemouth , Dartington Glass and production and exhibition support toward its subsequent presentation at The Wellcome Collection in 2011.