Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Vagina Dialogue

Gabriella Kennard, After Georgia O'Keeffe, 2013

The Vagina Dialogue
Curated by Georgia Saxelby
National Art School Library: June 17 - July 18, 2013

Bringing together forty third year female National Art School (NAS) students from across all disciplines, The Vagina Dialogue presents different interpretations and experience of the vagina. Despite progression in female empowerment since the 1970s, the vagina is still largely considered a taboo subject. This exhibition asks its audience to consider their own thoughts about this body part whilst reflecting on how these artworks make them feel. Uncomfortable? Empowered? Excited? Aroused?

While some works border on the humorous, others touch on the serious aspects such as topic can evoke. In particular, an anonymous work, hidden away in the corner of the library, written in child-like script, outlines a painful account of child abuse. This is an uncomfortable and awful reminder that sometimes a woman's first encounter with her vagina is not a pleasant one.

Credit needs to be given to curator Georgia Saxelby who managed to successfully curate forty artworks in a very limited and awkward space. Loved the comedic curation of the embroidered tampons near the toilet sign and it seemed not a single space was left bare.

Strangely the only awkwardness I felt was as a result of the ridiculous amount of people in the space. My claustrophobia almost detracted from my appreciation of the artwork. I couldn't help but make comparisons to Judy Chicago, Miriam Schapiro, Barbra Kruger, Jenny Holzer and Carolee Schneeman - some of the key artists in the second wave of feminism during the 1970s in America. As long as inequality between the sexes exists (and it does) exhibitions that empower women and give them a voice are not only welcome, but necessary. 

Hannah Toohey, C is for Cookie, 2013

Eloise Rankin, Lady's Things, 2013

Anonymous, 1 in 4, 2013

Ellie Gifford, Vagina-Envy, 2013

Liz Hogan, Tea Party with Meret, Judy and Marina, 2013

Liz Hogan, Tea Party with Meret, Judy and Marina, 2013

Jan Handel, Accidental Womanhood I, II and III, 2013

Georgina Bonner, Inside Out, 2013

Georgina Bonner, Inside Out, 2013

Inge Berman, Urensbushels, 2013

Inge Berman, Urensbushels, 2013

Marta Ferracin, Behind the Barrier of Stillness, 2013

Marta Ferracin, Behind the Barrier of Stillness, 2013
Anonymous, 1 in 4, 2013

Corrine Bowden, The Agony and the Episiotomy, 2013

Ebony Jennings, For Every Flower Forced to Bloom, 2013

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