11 April, 2006

women in contemporary art

"women cannot really make a career for themselves in art"
+++ Society/ France: The place of women in contemporary art

France - Libération. In a lengthy commentary, the French writer Marie Darrieussecq denounces the ostracism that female artists suffer. +++

the article translated by babelfish

Come from the literature, I discover the world of art, and I learn there much things. For example, that the women cannot really build of work. It is written in the catalogue devoted to the painter Jean-Marc Bustamante (collection "contemporary Creation", Flammarion editions, 2005).

Christine Macel, who questions it with Xavier Veilhan, asks him why the women "do not hold the distance", why if little "exceeds the ten years". "You (Bustamante, Veilhan, or Thomas Hirschhorn, note), you produce much, you experienced in different dimensions, there is a kind of flow. I wondered recently why it was not the case among women." And I think of Louise Bourgeois, Annette Messager, Gina Pane (this word of "flow"), Rebecca Horn or Jenny Holzer, who still have of effect all their evidence to make.

One owes in Christine Macel the decisive Dyonisiac exposure, which I saw at the beginning of 2005 with the Pompidou Center. Exposure devoted to promising artists, and very instructive: vis-a-vis with the list of the names, fourteen male first names, I had concluded from it that there was no promising artist in the world today...

Bustamante increases (it would be necessary all to quote of its text inspired, where one finds the breath dix-neuviemist and imposing of Michelet or Renan): "Yes, the man needs to conquer territories, the woman finds her territory and it remains there... The women seek a man, a man wants all the women. The woman, as soon as it found its territory, it remains there... The men are always in the search for virgin territories."

According to a prejudice which goes up with the first outlines of anthropology, the woman is made for the private space (the hearth, "personnel" which will further quote Veilhan): in short, vaginal and uterine interiority. As if the shape of the sexual organs could found a thought.
A préhistorienne as Claudine Cohen shows that there is a total scientific fiction to think that Mr. Cromagnon drove out the mammoth while Mrs. Cromagnon awaited it in the cave... Both were, at best and with the daily newspaper, large hunters of wild weasels.

It is true that as soon as a woman penetrates on the so-called ground of the men, she is made treat of "phallic woman": it is the term of Macel to describe Louise Bourgeois. By a start of thought historicisante, it then tries to excuse these poor delayed females: "the women could only express themselves as artists very recently, as from the years 1970, before it existed little about it." Sonia Delaunay, Maya Deren, Lili Brig, German Richier, Barbara Hepworth... the list could be long those who were artists before the Seventies.

Admittedly, a woman who creates must take again tools or a language already formatted by a world of men, which can add to the confusion of those whose thought is already confused. Dominated must indeed pass by the field of dominating to be extracted some. A historical alternative was to reinvent the traditionally female tools and symbols, which explains why the Seventies actually saw so many knittings, cloths and houses, cyclic blood and female moods put in scene in art. Without anything to remove with their formidable second reading of the bodies and stereotypes, Orlan, Middle-class men, Messager... have all evolved/moved then in their explorations.

However, Bustamante disputes any capacity with mobility to them. I continue to read, increasingly astonished, learning for example whom Nan Golding "really any more moved" once only it found its line. But it is in the general information that Bustamante reaches its true epic dimension: "the men take risks much greater, like being hated, to be in the polemic, to be a long time in difficult fields."

But perhaps that Bustamante is right. With the stupid way of Mr Homais: a speech insulting but convenient, immémorialement conventional. It is so much reassuring, which the woman remains at the house! With, in more (today the women work), this great shiver with few expenses, to have the impression to say prohibited things... With the men, therefore, difficult things! If the woman is made for the close relation and the easy one, it is undoubtedly because its baby the tète. And it must be because they are frileuses that the women artists "knit" so much, and because they are limited that they do not seek to conquer "virgin territories". It is true that one still finds people to exclude Orlan from the field of art, or Pipilotti Rist, or Sarah Lucas... Or for saying that they do not take any risk, especially not that to be hated... However, this concept of artistic risk that Bustamante employs, I know it well: it also date a little, at least seventy years, since virile "the horn of bull" of Leiris.

The women artists would be thus a little cookings. They "are cut off in the social box where one wants to see them well" (Veilhan). But if one includes in the concept of artist the music or the letters, then indeed, one Duras or Jelinek always was afraid of the polemic, Björk always dug the same furrow, and Simone Weil was known for its side plan-plan. It would be thus in art and strictly in art which the women are good only to produce works with the hook? It is true that there are the laws of the market... The galleries, which expose them little... And certain women themselves which, as soon as they have a small end to be able, like Christine Macel, magnificiently integrate the prejudices on their sex.

That the men and the women produce different works seems to me a rich idea, interesting, more than alleged the often put "neutral" for the "male" word. But as by chance, this difference is generally used to minimize works of the women. Fortunately I write, I am not "an artist", if not I would dare to think that I have a brain, whose form is not inevitably that of a uterine cavity.

No comments: