Constellation; Post Feminism



‘Alison Lapper Pregnant’, Marc Quinn, 2005

(Image taken from;

The next constellation lecture focused on the idea of ‘Post Feminism’, the movement which has followed the rampant surge in Feminism during the latter part of the 20th century. We began to look at examples of women in art, and what they are often chosen for; their beauty. This piece, however, takes a figure that would be deemed ugly by many, and placed her ‘on a pedestal’, literally and figuratively, in order to highlight the inherent beauty within all human beings. Quinn remarks that many ancient statues are missing arms, but we consider them beautiful, yet often look down on those who have the same issue with their own, real bodies. This statue is of Alison Lapper, a single, disabled, lower class mother, and for some reason, the fact that Quinn was male was brought up, as if this was some form of issue? I understand that an artist must be examined to understand an art piece, but whether the person who crafted the sculpture was male or female does not matter in such an instance, those who seem to look too deep between the lines lose the majesty, and simplistic beauty, inherent in such a work.


‘Where does it all end?’ Sarah Lucas, 1995

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However, on the flip-side, taking into account the gender of the artist responsible fo this work, is incredibly interesting. Sarah Lucas is not my faourite artist, nor do I find her work that interesting or even valuable, but in the context of this lecture, I began to enjoy it a little bit more. Here, there is a distinctively male image; a snarl, clenched around a cigarette, but it has been crafted by a woman; and for all we know, it could in fact e a cast of her own face. What a strange juxtaposition this is! I feel like the gender of the artist is so intrinsic to the work’s success here, yet I felt almost apathetic to the fact that the artist was  a man in the previous work. I guess I began to feel a difference here with how I perceived work in general, especially with the idea of the artist being another aspect of the work; their own emotions, perceptions and world influencing the work, sometimes without them even knowing.


‘The Dinner Party’, Judy Chicago, 1979

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A work which annoyed me, and still annoys me now. This work, ‘The Dinner Party’, supposedly promotes gender equality, aiming to promote female symbolism throughout society as male symbolism, most notably ‘phallic imagery’ runs so rampant through our society that works of art like this must be made. It is incredibly stupid as a work of art, and promotes the idea that ‘Biology is Destiny’, which dictates that people are defined by what genitals they have. Interestingly, this is something that feminism in fact tries to get away from; they aim to remove the idea that women are nothing more than vaginas, nothing more than baby-making ‘machines’, and this is exactly what Chicago is doing; she’s showing these famous, influential women as nothing more than vaginas. How petty.


‘Pour your Body out’, Pipilotti Rist, 2008

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An artist who focuses on bodily experience, but in a much more interesting, and fantastical way. Rist’s work relies heavily on the medium of Video, and her installation ‘Pour your body out’ is no exception to the rule. The work is beautiful, entrancing even, as naked women explore and play a surreal, dream-like landscape filled with pink tulips and strangely coloured fruits. The work is immersive, taking up around 7354 cubic meters of space, in which she creates an environment where one seems to pass into this dream world, and become one with the people dancing across the screens. Our bodies are numb, but our minds imagine what it would feel like to prance through a world where there seems to be no negativity, no pain. This work really touches something deep inside of me, I really enjoy it when female artists can show me a glimpse of what it is like to be a woman. Sure, I know this is not an accurate representation, but sometimes I wonder, and this aids my interest.

Nan one month after being battered 1984 by Nan Goldin born 1953

‘Nan one month after being battered’ Nan Goldin, 1984

(Image taken from;

The final piece that I found had a profound effect on me from this lecture was this one. It is a dark photo, brutal, even horrific, and the title does nothing to soften the blow. Nan Goldin was not punched, nor did she have a fight, she was battered. At the time of the incident, we can only imagine what she looked like; more than likely absolutely awful, but as it has taken a month for it to heal to this level (which is not even fully healed), we can only begin to imagine the pain and emotional trauma that Goldin went through during this time. This piece showcases the commonly believed concept that men are the more powerful gender, but it also showcases another, more interesting concept; that the woman can outlast the man. Goldin has done herself up for this image; she has done her hair, worn nice clothes, and put on make-up, but neglected to cover up the scars. She is presenting herself as if to say, I am still here, you may have beaten me but I will outlast you. This is often true throughout life as well, as females generally live longer than males do, and this shows this point very powerfully.


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