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Mar 18, 2014

Fetishism in Feminist Art?

Alina Szapocznikow: Reflections on the  International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day

[This post includes some sexually graphic sculptures
that I use to convey a message about sexism.
They are not intended to offend anyone.]

Celebrating International Women’s Day,
more than hundred years after the Suffragettes ,
Is it still relevant?
Is it, nowadays, perhaps even archaic?

It is indeed an opportunity to publish
and  analyze  the statistics ,
which still show the slow
progress  towards gender equality. 
It is an opportunity for us women, 
to celebrate what already has been achieved, 
and.. to indulge ourselves…
Yet, could it be the masculine way for
temporary cleansing  the  conscience and then
keeping on with gender discrimination?!...

In spite of  possible reservations,
I am FOR International Women’s Day!

My own humble contribution 
to that day, is to  discuss the woman artist

Alina Szapocznikow 

Alina Szapocznikow created her
avant-garde and provocative
art during the 50s and 60s
of the last century (not very long ago…)
when the art scene still “belonged“ to men artists.
Women artists were mentionedonly
if they were the artists’ lovers ormodels, or both...

Alina was appreciated as an artist.
She was mentioned by the critics
as belonging to the post-war art movement
known as  “Neo-realism” .

Exhumed, 1957

Man with Instrument, 1965.

Yet , as woman artist, she remained at the margins of
the artistic scene , especially during her last 10 years,
when she lived in Paris.
She countered this situation by using
a sophisticated tactic:
She adopted the male artistic  terminology
of using feminine organs in art. 

Let’s look at some of the men artist’s fantasies:

HansBellmer   was playing with distorted and dismantled dolls:

Rene Magritte   composed a portrait of “The Rape” :

Tom Wesellman dealt with the American  feminine  prototype:

Alina painted and sculptured mainly her own body.

Here, photoed with her sculptured organs,
she is probably referring to Hans Bellmer’s dolls:

She used feminine organs,
which were in fact, objects
for men’s sexist fantasies.
She played in the men’s playground,
and as a woman artis, she changed their meaning. 
Her works  were  sarcastically  directed
against this kind of art.
Here is her  most famous and breaking  through  icon:

Leg, 1962.

Headless Torso, 1968

Here she is breaking the taboo of cannibalism 
in her “dessert” serias

Dessert III, 1971

Let us hope that this tactic,
used for entering the artistic scene,
will not be relevant anymore….

I would like to hear your opinions.
Please leave a comment below.

Thanks, and looking forward to hearing from you.

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