We want to provide our readers with more than just news on artists and exhibitions, that’s why once a month we will bring you one full week dedicated to a particular theme or subject, presenting contemporary artists within a curatorial, conceptual or theoretical framework. Sexual Deployment: The Body as Method for Discourse presents five women artists that use their bodies as a political and social space to address issues of sexuality, feminism and femininity.
Hannah Wilke (born Arlene Hannah Butter, 1940) was one of the first artists to use images of the vagina in her work during the 1960′s and 1970′s. She worked in a variety of different mediums such as photography, sculpture, installation, assemblage, drawing and performance. In most of her work, the body is itself a sculptural object and a means of expression to discuss issues related to the depiction of women in fashion and popular culture. In her photographic piece S.O.S - Starification Object Series, Wilke poses in a series of ‘glamour shots’ placing on her body tiny chewing gum sculptures that mimic her early terracota vagina sculptures. The work consists of 35 black and white photographs taken by Les Wollan in a ‘Mastication Box’, a game box with photographs, chewing gum sculptures, playing cards and instructions for play. In fact, her self-portrait photographs were taken by male photographers because the artist thought that the male eye focused mostly on her body than on anything else.
Hannah Wilke died in 1993 of complications from Lymphoma. For her final work Intra-Venus, her husband Donald Goddard documented the physical and mental ravages of the illness that was slowly taking over her body.
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