Erin Hallyburton’s installations confront conventional expectations of the body and how it is shaped within built environments. Through her work, Hallyburton challenges anti-fat ideologies by highlighting the architectural structures of everyday spaces that are considered neutral and static. Using heat to transform the fat from solid to liquid, she demonstrates the unpredictable nature of fat as a material. Her work asks the viewer to reconsider their understanding of how the human body can relate to the space around it and their implicit perceptions of fat and fatness.
Hallyburton’s installation is informed by her observations of Caulfield Fish and Chips. Class, colonization, immigrant experience and fatness come together in the waste sunflower oil that forms the basis of the installation. The waste oil is combined with water and caustic soda, becoming soap. The soap is used to cast cylindrical columns, reminiscent of pipes blocked by fatty material. The triangular wedge is comprised of layers of clay, tallow and vegetable shortening, to create a marbled, layered effect. Here, the material is controlled and angular, challenging our presupposed ideas of fat as soft and malleable.