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Preposterous histories

Johnson, Clare


Clare Johnson
Associate Professor in Art & Design


This article explores maternal desire, loss, and control by reading Carolee Schneemann's performance Interior Scroll (1975) through Tracey Emin's photographic print I've Got It All (2000). More specifically, I consider Schneemann's work on the energy of female sexuality and maternal desire through Emin's recurrent visualizations of sexuality and maternal loss. The artists' refusal to disengage with the commodified (dis)pleasures of femininity leads me to consider the differently contextualized handling of these issues in each artwork. I explore the mediation of the body of each artist by positioning Emin's work as a "source" for my reading of Schneemann's performance. Invoking the notion of "preposterous history" (Bal 1999), I argue that the concepts of the "live" and the "mediated" are differently intensified by operating outside of the constraints of chronology. Hence the inter-generational dialogue between these particular female artists, whose work has been produced at different historical moments, is itself generative of thoughts and ideas that are irreducible to the individual works. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.

Journal Article Type Review
Publication Date Sep 1, 2010
Journal Feminist Media Studies
Print ISSN 1468-0777
Electronic ISSN 1471-5902
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 3
Pages 269-284
APA6 Citation Johnson, C. (2010). Preposterous histories. Feminist Media Studies, 10(3), 269-284.
Keywords Carolee Schneemann, Tracey Emin, maternal loss, feminist art
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