Carolee Schneemann’s work is quite a controversial approach too art. Some may look in shock and disgust, while others stare in awe. Me, well I can understand why it can be seen as shocking… it isn’t exactly your average day to day occurrence. However, from being involved within Fine Art for many years now I tend not to be so stunned and rather understand a piece of work, question ‘what exactly am I seeing here?’
And that, is what I’m going to try and explore, grasping onto what Carolee Schnemann is trying to do within the images above from her performance: Interior Scroll
If you are unfamiliar with this performance read the Tate’s description of the happening, just so you get the full and it doesn’t leave me missing out some important details.
Interior scroll was from a time of the 70’s when the Women’s Movement was of importance, the use of the body and expression within performance was a key element. It allowed Schneemann to explore her feelings towards being a woman. Now, resulting in pulling a scroll from your vagina may not be something you think would be the first thing to spring too mind. However, it does have it’s good intentions. Her work, for me, shows the power in which women have from their genitals. This may sound quite stupid, but again I mind myself referring back to Luce Irigary, whereby she speaks of how women’s sexual empowerment is stronger too that of the males. But, I’m no going to go into more detail on that subject as it’s apart of a very long theory. However, not only can it be seen as holding more power, lets remember that this area of the body leads to another powerful part of a woman. The reproductive system and the womb. Two of which, without would leave our race at a standstill. But it’s important that I mention that without the male and their reproductive system it would also leave us at a standstill. However, this is a piece of art work which looks specifically at the woman and how they hold onto such power… which is belittled by male patriarchy. Leading us too the scroll. By bringing forth language from the part of a woman which is empowering it shows a rebirth of language. A woman’s control is being inflicted on something that is thought to be derived from the male. So, Schneemann is enabling a space for such language to be vacant. None meaningful. Until she starts too enscroll it, bringing it into present from a females perspective while being connected to their empowerment.
So, if you thought that Schneemann’s actions were shocking and stupid, well I hope I allowed to open up some ideas in which she provoked and relates too. Or you may just think, what utter bullshit. Because sometimes I do question that myself.
Want to know more about Luce Irigary and her theory? http://www.iep.utm.edu/irigaray/#SH3b
Tate’s Description: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/schneemann-interior-scroll-p13282/text-summary