I suddenly had the thought that this blog is a bit phallocentric (when I first heard that word at Art School I thought it was something they had made up) in it’s representation of art. I’m not totally sure that I’m going to have a Female Artists Week as that seems a bit ‘list-y’ and lists are no doubt a symbol of subjugative phallocentric thinking: everything numbered 1-10 ought to constitute a reproach to the male psyché; (after my first term in art school I could no longer roll a cigarette without the act of shaping it forming the suggestion of gender suppression in my febrile mind).
Helen Chadwick was an artist I loved because she seemed quite rude but the pieces she made were rather compelling. These sculptures – piss flowers, as they are titled – below were typical of her style. To do what comes naturally in snow and make bronze casts of it: what could be greater and more simple? Or perhaps not so simple, how would you make that cast anyway – from what?
Helen Chadwick’s boyfriend contributed to the process – in the final pieces it is his efforts that end up looking like the female parts and vice-versa due to the different urinating techniques.
To explain this in a more sophisticated terminology, here is a very ‘soft’ example of the sort of language I encountered when I first came across ‘art writing’ –
The pleasure of a taboo act exalted through the object, their flower pistils cast from the cavities melted in the snow by hot urine, strong and warm from the woman, diffuse and cooler from the man, are an inversion of human genitalia. The central female form is penile, the male labial.
Piss Flowers, 1991-92, painted bronzes