Saturday, 19 June 2010

Magpie 19 - Pain

Magpie 18 Click here to view further work by writers.
At the Museum of Contemporary Art in Seville is an exhibition by women artists of Spain. The recognition of women artists as equal alongside their brother artists is fairly recent in this country. Many of the works were inpenetrable to me. One was most perplexing. I'm interested in your take on this. It is a video documentation of a piece of performance art.

A tall dark haired woman stands before an audience. She is beautiful. The stage is empty save for her. She is dressed in a beautiful full length off-white dress, heavily embroidered not dissimilar to a flamenco dress but not with the same degree of ostentation. It is elegant, formal. Her hair is long and secured in a spiral at the back, held in place by black clasps.

She begins.
She reveals a fine sharp implement in her hand. Not a knife but a short pin clearly visible to the audience. She begins walking on the bare stage. It is silent. as she walks she stabs herself numerous times in the chest above her left breast. she does this until blood begins to flow and seep into the fabric of her dress. She then repeats this on her right. the patch of blood is quite evuident now and both breasts are becoming saturated in red. Finally she applies the same technique to her abdomen. A series of perhaps a dozen fine jabs in quick succession to induce a blood flow across her stomach, her womb. Her face shows no expression. she continues walking. She is silent. There is no interaction with the audience. Her dress is now saturated with blood in the three sites. She exits.

17 comments:

She Writes said...

This is deeply disturbing on so many levels. It reminds me of a friend of mine who cut himself when he was younger. He told me he did it because it was better to hurt himself instead of someone else. This reminded me of him on a much darker level.

soundoffreedom said...

I see some of the symbolism possibly that she was attempting to portray but I'm not sure I would have wanted to see the scene acted out..then again pain is not pretty and no one likes to face the harsh realities of it in any form.

Lena said...

A fascinating take on how physical pain holds no barriers.

RA said...

Somehow this brings Frida Kahlo to my mind. Don't know why but it does. Powerful mental images.

signedbkm.com said...

Well she obviously has some issues with herself.....makes you think...me I stay away from knives, I do not like pain....bkm

Maha said...

wow! that was extremely poignant. tHe images you gave just sting.

Brian Miller said...

snap that was vivid...i know a few cutters...and this is disturbing...but i could not look away. excellent write...

Lyn said...

Special effects are clever..would a woman suggest this mutilation?

AngelMay said...

The author here is silent on the reaction of the audience. This leads one to believe they watch quietly. The horror seems, to me, to be in this rather than in what the woman is doing.

Stafford Ray said...

Maybe mnany women would rather have been born men, angry women and with justification at being treated as less. The symbolism could be the 'killing' of the feminine, the characteristics that close so many doors to women in the world of men.
Bloody awful image.

willow said...

Intriguing that she mutilated her feminine physicality. Powerful and brutal.

Tumblewords: said...

I'd take a pass on seeing this - even as symbolic expression, it feels like bad use of theater. Interesting post!

kathew said...

It's either Frida Kahlo or a cuter. Very disturbing image.

sheri said...

and all of this self torture with no expression on her face? e-gads, steve! you've pushed it to the limits with your magpie! it is stunning, setting off all sorts of responses in me.
have you been having bad dreams lately of not being able to get blood out of your favorite white shirt? i'm just asking...

Jennifer said...

It seems to me she was attacking her feminine self, perhaps a comment on how women find themselves in the world? Or perhaps removing the feminine aspect from the equation? Who knows - it's painful and disturbing and you conveyed the experience beautifully.

Helen said...

I have read of 'performance art' ... your Magpie describes it well ~ though so hard to absorb.

Aoife.Troxel said...

Disturbing image. But I'm glad you shared it.