≡ the ‘vaginal address’ & the ‘f’ generations artists ≡

kup0rQKMhmr3HMD0Uc3L__2D-_hIttu6Rw2j-r1dEvswy6r4dAwKW2eSa-YPhJBs_RS927RisHmYgU51ciF06oDocumentation of Casey Jenkins‘ performance Casting Off My Womb. Image via http://hyperallergic.com

Casting Off My Womb was a 28-day performance by artist Casey Jenkins, that took place at the Darwin Visual Arts Association. A local television network documented the performance and later made it available on youtube, gathering over 6 million views and triggering hundreds of angry comments

Reacting to the hate mail, Jenkins wrote an article in The Guardian, where she explains that:

My image and work have been consumed, contemplated and commented on by millions across the globe. It’s interesting then, and gives an insight into the performance’s heart, that all of this electronic crackle and buzz has not altered my identification with it at all.  […]

The response to the clip was immediate, massive and, for the most part, negative, marked with fear and repulsion. The word “ick” features heavily, as do “eww”, “gross” and “whyyyy?”. Exclamation points are afforded entire comment boxes, broken only by the odd question mark. Everything comes in for criticism; the menstrual blood used in the work probably cops the most, but viewers have taken swipes at my hair-cut, my eyebrows, my skin, my home-city, my choice of words, my knitting technique and the colour of my shirt. The nature of the response wasn’t unexpected, but the scale of it was and it’s been fascinating to watch.

3bc76b21-92b7-4ad1-b6b0-5b991a4b0b5d-bestSizeAvailableImage via http://theguardian.com

[…] As the deafening response to my work demonstrates, there is a hell of a lot of clamouring noise in society about what a person with a body like mine should and shouldn’t be doing with it. The pitch and volume of opinions can be so overwhelming that it’s difficult to quiet the noise, step back and choose a clear and autonomous path. With Casting Off My Womb I have attempted to do just that by paring concepts about body parts and activities related to women back to their most elemental. Over the course of the month I sat with the steady rhythm of the knitting needles and of my body and created a work that I have complete confidence in, a confidence that thousands of internet opinions have not dinted.

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IMG_9256Documentation of Sofia Magalhães‘ exhibition Retratos (“Portraits”). Image via http://joanabutton.blogspot.pt

IMG_3826Documentation of Sofia Magalhãesexhibition Retratos (“Portraits”). Image via http://isabelpiresdelima.blogspot.pt

Yesterday, by accident, I came across Sofia Magalhães‘ work in a documentary by Luís Hipólito called Diagnóstico: Dinamite (“Diagnosis: Dynamite”). The documentary featured a work of Magalhães that mixes photography and ceramics, something I had never seen before. I then realized I could have seen her exhibition Retratos (“Portraits”), where she displayed a series of old photographs decorated with humorous ceramic elements, but was not aware of the work.

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manifestoTo continue reading the manifesto click here.

┐ Sonja Bäumel, growing a second skin └

01 copy© Sonja Bäumel, Embroidered Tattoo, 2007

The embroidered tattoo is part of the fashion collection “Slow down…”. Latex layers
have been revived, reinterpreted and transformed into a skin. A skin embroidered with
local tradition.

sy_baeumel_cro_memb© Sonja Bäumel, Crocheted Membrane, 2008/09

“Our skin has a second layer of skin. A layer full of life, which serves as a membrane for exchange. This body membrane is made from the same substance as the world. The human body does not end at the skin, but invisibly expands into space. The hidden membrane exists between our body and our surroundings. We can enter this invisible micro level with a microscope; we enter and magnify the micro world. What happens if we make the micro world of the human body perceivable? I want to confront people with the fact that our body plays host to countless bacteria and that a balanced perception of the body is closely linked to a balanced perception of the self.” via Deezen magazine

0108sonja baeumel_expanded self1_0tumblr_mdf6ohXgLz1qeqxnz© Sonja Bäumel, Expanded Self, 2012

“Sonja Bäumel, supported by the bacteriologist Erich Schopf, has found a unique way of visualizing the invisible surface of the human body. She uses a gigantic petri dish as canvas and the bacteria living on her own body as colour. She develops and speaks a language combining art and science and thus creates a biologically living whole-body picture.
After the application of the invisible bacteria colour on the body, the body is imprinted on agar, the nutritive substance for bacteria, which is first filled into a huge petri dish (210cmx 80 cm). After a few days, a living landscape is growing there. It consists of a unique mixture of life forms on Sonja Bäumel’s body on a certain day, in a certain Viennese area. With this project, she wants to highlight the existing invisible infrastructure in order to understand and make use of it.”

Sonja’s website here

┐ Yayoi Kusama └

200© Yayoi Kusama, Silver Squid Dress, 1968-9

kusama053© Yayoi Kusama, Self-Portrait, 1962

Kusamas-Self-Obliteration-Horse-Play1© Yayoi Kusama, Horse Play

Self-ObliterationByDots© Yayoi Kusama, Self-Obliteration By Dots, 1968. Photo © Hal Reiff

nytriangle© Yayoi Kusama, photography copyright © Harrie Verstappen

“Rather than confirming the ontological coherence of the body-as-presence, body art depends on documentation, confirming-even exacerbating-the supplementarity of the body itself. Predictably, although many have relied on the photograph, in particular, as “proof’ of the fact that a specific action took place or as a marketable object to be raised to the formalist height of an “art” photograph, in fact such a dependence is founded on belief systems similar to those underlying the belief in the “presence” of the bodyin- performance. Kristine Stiles has brilliantly exposed the dangers of using the photograph of a performative event as “proof’ in her critique of Henry Sayre’s book The Object of Performance. Sayre opens his first chapter with the nowmythical tale of Rudolf Schwarzkogler’ss uicidal self-mutilation of his penis in 1966, a story founded on the circulation of a number of “documents” showing a male torso with bandaged penis (a razor blade lying nearby). Stiles, who has done primary research on the artist, points out that the photograph, in fact, is not even of Schwarzkogler but, rather, of another artist (Heinz Cibulka) who posed for Schwarzkogler’se ntirely fabricated ritual castratio.

Sayre’s desire for this photograph to entail some previous “real” event (in Barthesian terms, the having been there of a particular subject and a particular action)leads him to ignore what Stiles describes as “the contingency of the document not only to a former action but also to the construction of a wholly fictive space.”23 It is this very contingency that Sayre’s book attempts to address through his argument that the shift marked by performance and body art is that of the “site of presence” from “art’s object to art’s audience, from the textual or plastic to the experiential.”24 Sayre’s fixation on “presence,” even while he acknowledges its new destabilized siting in reception, informs his unquestioning belief in the photograph of performance as “truth.”

Rosalind Krauss has recognized the philosophical reciprocity of photography and performance, situating the 16 two as different kinds of indexicality. As indexes, both labor to “substitute the registration of sheer physical presence for the more highly articulated language of aesthetic conventions.”25A nd yet, I would stress, in their failure to “go beyond” the contingency of aesthetic codes, both performance and photography announce the supplementarity of the index itself. The presentation of the self-in performance, in the photograph, film, or video-calls out the mutual supplementarity of the body and the subject (the body, as material “object” in the world, seems to confirm the “presence” of the subject; the subject gives the body its significance as “human”), as well as of performance or body art and the photographic document. (The body art event needs the photograph to confirm its having happened; the photograph needs the body art event as an ontological “anchor” of its indexicality.)”

in “Presence” in Absentia: Experiencing Performance as Documentation by Amelia Jones
Source: Art Journal, Vol. 56, No. 4, Performance Art: (Some) Theory and (Selected) Practice at the End of This Century (Winter, 1997), pp. 11-18

Yayoi’s website here

┐ Hannah Villiger (1951-1997) └

© Hannah Villiger, Untitled, 1980 – C-print from Polaroid

© Hannah Villiger, Sculptural, 1993

© Hannah Villiger, Untitled, 1980/81 – 12 C-prints of polaroids

“When trying to describe physical feelings of any kind, we find ourselves shortchanged by language. I arrived at this conclusion after several, always hopelessly crude attempts to describe
fundamental moments in Hannah Villiger’s oeuvre. The public-at-large is quite capable of registering feelings of repulsion or extreme empathy when blood flows in the movies, when some-one is cut or surgery is performed, or when faced with eroticism, vertigo on a lookout tower or sports—all points on a scale that are clearly designated and defined. But in between lie immense micro-regions, dead lands, where words fail. This is the territory that Hannah Villiger explores. With a well-honed consciousness she masterfully negotiates the overall system of obstruction (of hindrance and enfeeblement). When communication is constantly kept in check, metaphor comes to the rescue. Perhaps this is why Hannah Villiger’s work seems so womanly and so strong.
It is conceivable that the vertigo caused by verticals (at the edge of the abyss) has a gentle partner in horizontals. A kind of window feeling. When it is very intense, you feel it in your nostrils, your ears, your chest or (in connection with speed) your bottom. The fixed point is not the abyss but the horizon. When I was a child and we went for a drive on Sundays, I would sit in the backseat and imagine—especially in fast curves—that I was riding a bicycle because I was never given one. Hannah Villiger can do it without a bicycle. That’s what I have to think of when I see her photographs of gushing water, swift birds or colliding boccie balls. And there is also the mute, squat airship, suspended in the sky, or the burning palm leaf thrown into the air. Here pleasurable and extremely subtle use is made of the potential of empathy, which in turn makes us aware of our own potential and position as part of a greater whole.
Hannah Villiger’s much enlarged color Polaroids no longer record the vehemence of directly transmitted physical sensations; they have quieted down. “He had teeth like luxury hotels on the beach in Florida and when he closed his mouth, there was a big scar.” (Laurie Anderson) These color photographs, usually one meter square, gradually turn into boxes the longer you look at them. Boxes into which you poke your head very, very slowly without noticing, because the pull is so gentle. And damp fog, pointed palm leaves, skin or gazes brush against us, passing by. But there are also pictures whose energy is directed outwards, pictures that radiate, so that we already notice from afar that we are being kept at bay. These are the cold pictures, like the eye with a razor-sharp gaze. Once you have stood in front of them, you know that the format of these photographs is incontestable.
Sometimes the subject matter of a picture ignites feelings; other times it is a vessel or a catchment for them. In memory such distinctions are often utterly irrelevant. For this reason, Hannah Villiger’s wooden or plexiglas objects crop up again in her photo works. Is Hannah Villiger the fog creeping around the mountain, or is the fog enveloping her? Movement back and forth, sudden clashes and leaps, simultaneous flowing and flying flit through Hannah Villiger’s work until a compact whole emerges—like her name HANNAH…” HANNAH and the Horizon, by Bice Curiger

more of Hannah‘s work here

┐ Cara Judea Alhadeff └

© Cara Judea Alhadeff, Lost Valley, from the conscious dream project

© Cara Judea Alhadeff, kunst-stoff, from the conscious dream project

© Cara Judea Alhadeff, Exploratoreum, from Gestation (singles)

© Cara Judea Alhadeff, south american tropical room, from gestation project

© Cara Judea Alhadeff, art and revolution’s wailing women heads, from gestation project

“As a Deleuzian nomadic feminist, my photographic work explores a dynamic disequilibrium. My photographs play with inter-relating imbrications—concurrent, multiple, contradictory tendencies.My pedagogical and art-based research explores the possibilities of radical citizenship by actively cultivating vulnerability through corporeal inquiries. Irreducibly allusive corpo-visual language unfolds as embodied rhizomatic vulnerabilities. My project is intricately rooted in the potential of a rhizomatic uncanny—”reducible neither to the One nor the multiple” (Mille Plateaux 22). I ground my theoretical investigations within narratives of personal experience —sexual becomings and analog photography. As a strategy to elucidate my theoretical queries, I refer both to my philosophical underpinnings and the international public reception of my photographs—which frequently has led to censorship. In doing so, I practice an embodied theory that advocates a politics, philosophy, and pedagogical commitment rooted in everyday behavior and interaction. A commitment to this heterogeneous embodied thinking has the potential to rupture cultural assumptions. It explores the cross-fertilization of Deleuze’s enfoldments as disarticulated membranes. This awareness awakens the possibility of fully inhabiting our bodies—bodies that pulse with the multiplicity of the ‘I’—as inherently interdisciplinary. Revitalization of both individual and social bodies produces enfoldments of psyche-somatic consciousness. No hierarchies survive these monstrous, heterogeneous, multiple entwinings of body intelligence and wisdom. The body becomes a condition for participatory democracy—a lived erotic politics.


My intention is to play with relationships amongst actual, liminal anatomical characteristics, and not to create artifice. Zizek tells us that “…Deleuze’s Spinoza is the Spinoza of the real, of ‘anarchic’ bodily mixtures” (Zizek188). The relationships among the “objects” within my photographs play out a process of continual de-centering and excess. I hope this language of critical imagination becomes an erogenous life-affirming power, breaking up predetermined taxonomies of knowledge, suspending what we think we know: “…the uncanny is destined to elude mastery, it is what cannot be pinned down or controlled. The uncanny is never simply a question of a statement, description or definition, but always engages a performative dimension, a maddening supplement, something unpredictable and additionally strange happening in and to what is being stated, described or defined” (Royle 16). This Deleuzian language of the uncanny cannot be taxonomied, classified, binarized.

How can we challenge, personally and collectively, our socialized fear and distrust of self-doubt, what comes out of our bodies, and what goes on inside them? For the past twenty years, these questions have compelled me to collaborate on cross-disciplinary projects with choreographers, composers, architects, philosophers, anthropologists, and geographers. Although I am a photographer, I experience my work as sculptural, cinematic, and performative—a two-dimensional manifestation of dance, sculpture, poetry, sociological investigation, and philosophical engagement rather than solely as “photography.” I shoot my still images with an analog large-format SLR Hasselblad camera. This is one reason why collaborating with artists from other disciplines is critical to my working process. This visual improvisation requires that each of us give up ownership and entitlement and enter a rhizomatic field of vulnerability, a surrender to dialogic self-sacrifice. This surrender becomes a dialogic relationship in which collaboration thwarts binary, reductive thinking. This self-sacrifice, not only in the sense of release of entitlement and ownership, but also as precisely the openness of vulnerability, if used consciously can become an explicit and emancipatory strategy for erotic agency. What evolves, then, is a recognition of our species’ de-centrality—deterritorialization establishes this new community— as an ever-unfolding statelessness of Becoming. Within this field of vulnerability, we are embedded in an interdependent rhizomatic dialogue. A dialogic self-sacrifice, inherent in the erotics of the uncanny, becomes a practice of the abject, which provokes terror because it shows, demonstrates, monstrifies how we are all connected. This sacrifice invites collaborative citizenship in which “the experience of oneself as a foreign body” (Royle 2) is paramount. Congruently, Spinoza’s “feeling” of surrender occupies the real. This self-sacrifice, inherent in uncanny rhizomatic vulnerabilities, becomes a practice of the real, of being open to the raw exposure of participating in unknown territory.”

excerpt of Practicing the Abject: Deleuze and the Analog Uncanny, in Rhizomes » Issue 23 (2012). continue reading here

see more of Cara‘s work here

║ Víctor Vázquez ║

a© Víctor Vázquez, Borders, from the series Body to body, 2005-2009

© Víctor Vázquez, Anthropophagy, from the series Body to body, 2005-2009

“Art produced in the Caribbean teems with images alluding to migratory phenomena of diverse nature, as much for its motivations as for the circumstances of the journey. This imaginary utopia associated with geographic displacement as an emblem of the Caribbean (not unique to this area, obviously) is re-elaborated in insular contexts like those of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and Puerto Rico, each one with specific characteristics produced as a result of divergent historic conditions and marked by individual political realities.

Un cuerpo a cuerpo (dislocación-encuentro-desplazamiento) [Body to Body (dislocation-meeting-displacement)], one of Victor Vázquez’s most recent projects (produced in Paris), connects with this symbolic métier which deconstructs the escapist narratives that lie behind the emigrating subject’s existence. The metamorphosis of this person’s body, transformed now into an “immigrant,” caused by the adaptation of memory to a landscape of unknown battles, is analyzed by the artist with the detailed perspective of a criminologist, who recognizes behind an elemental human right the suspicious presence of a “crime”.”

excerpt from “Nomad Tales of a Hybrid and Subversive Body”, by Suset Sánchez

More of Víctor’s work can be seen here

║ Tanya Marcuse ║

© Tanya Marcuse, Maximilian Helmet, c.1510, from the series Undergarments & Armor, 2002-2004

© Tanya Marcuse, Corset with Hip Pad, from the series Undergarments & Armor, 2002-2004

© Tanya Marcuse, Maximilian Armor, c.1510, from the series Undergarments & Armor, 2002-2004

“From the bizarre steatopygous forms of Victorian bustles to the haunting facial masks on medieval helmets, Tanya Marcuse has illuminated the complex relationship between body and clothes, with all the ambiguities this entails. — from the essay by Valerie Steele Since time immemorial, humans have sought to cover parts of their bodies, with materials ranging from animal skins to the finest silk. Clothing not only keeps us warm and protected, it allows us to alter our appearance and the way others might regard us. Tanya Marcuse’s fascinating photographs show that although clothing on its own can look strange and inanimate, it also has a story to reveal. The undergarments she presents here are the kind that would most likely have been kept well-hidden from view, for these are the hard foundation garments such as corsets and bustles that – invisible on the outside – could completely change the shape of their wearer. Conversely, the rigid outer shell of armor would blatantly transform the appearance of the person concealed inside. For women, these undergarments enhanced (so they believed) their beauty and status; for men, the armor likewise presented their desired image – strength and bravery – to whoever crossed their path.”

in Nazraeli press

More of Tanya’s work here

║ Maritza Molina ║

© Maritza Molina, Cutting the Pattern,  2009

© Maritza Molina, The test of purity,  2009

Maritza Molina´s work is a self-portrait exploring phases of her life’s encounters, discoveries, and changes. She stages herself in her images, as well as other people and objects. Her artwork derives from a personal experience or standpoint, and reflects how she occupies the world, and how the world that surrounds impacts her life. Allowing these constructed realities to translate into symbolic meanings is an intuitive process, one which she allows to guide her.

║ Helen Chadwick ║

© Helen Chadwick, Wigwam – 5 years, from the series Ego Geometria Sum

© Helen Chadwick, Bed – 63/4 years, from the series Ego Geometria Sum

More of Helen’s work can be seen here

Mona Kuhn

© Mona Kuhn
© Mona Kuhn


In a subject frequently used by artists, the nude has become a sort of “rite of passage” to those who observe human body in its most basic form. Mona Kuhn’s approach to this classic theme, while acknowledging her predecessors, creates work that is culturally anonymous with rare references to art historical precedents. Her subjects are members of a nudist colony in Southern France, not professional models trained to suppress emotion and personal self. The result is an intimate glimpse into a being’s reality, stunningly sensual but never overtly sexual. Kuhn’s camera captures something beyond gender, race, age, and beauty.

From Charles Cowles gallery press release.


Body Mutilation

© Gina Pane

© Joel Peter-Witkin

© David Nebreda

A fotografia vive do espectador que se deixa embalar e o que conseguimos objectivar depois de recuperar desse diálogo, mesmo que transposto em jeito de cítrica, não será nunca o reflexo preciso do jogo psicológico em que estivemos envolvidos. A escrita, como a fotografia, é um testemunho tardio de um momento que não conseguimos fazer perdurar.

Body Modification

© Ana Mendieta
A linguagem dos signos tomou conta das imagens. É certo e não é de agora. Noutros contextos, que não o da arte, o uso e abuso dos mesmos sistemas poderia levar-nos a desacreditar o fim, apesar da intenção. Contudo, no mundo da imagem e da música até, a recorrência aos alicerces que permitem erguer estas estruturas solidificadas, ao invés de se tornar cansativo, facilita a nossa leitura dessa irrealidade. Mesmo assim, talvez às vezes as coisas se devessem complicar. Talvez não sejam assim tão fundamentais as nossas explicações, talvez…