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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mystifying Theory; Margot Waddel and Michelene Wander

Riya Thomas



''Mystifying Theory"

Margot Waddel and Michelene Wander


Thesis Statement

The mystification of theory and art, rebounds on the impact of the framed objects; they cannot carry the weight of the significance attributed to them and become weak visual metaphors for an esoteric intellectualisation.

1.      Topic Sentence: 'Post Partum Document', which was at the Institute of Contemporary Arts this autumn, aroused much publicity and some notoriety.

Key Word: notoriety

Concerned – some aspects of exhibition – ignored both by media and by Laura Mulvey


2.      Topic Sentence: we recognise the importance of the issues Mary Kelly has chosen treat as an artist, and the seriousness and ambitiousness of her project.

Key Word: the mutual mother socialisation process

Feel – the gap between – her intentions and her actual achievements – opposite effect of its apparent aims


3.      Topic Sentence: she draws on a relatively new area of psychoanalytic theory to transform selected moments of her relationship with her own child.

Key Word: psychoanalytical/linguistic knowledge

Deep understanding – meant to help provide – basis for women – theorise their own experience. Either viewer bring the knowledge – or use the folder of notes


4.      Topic Sentence: However, the note themselves are highly selective, and quite obscure to anyone unfamiliar with concepts and terminology.

Key Word: mystify theory

Mary Kelly – aware – of brief notes – extending understanding – closing gap between – theory and art – serve to theory even further


5.      Topic Sentence: The exhibition, free to anyone who wants to walk in, appears to be open and accessible; in fact it is opaque and not so much participatory as excluding and exclusive.

Key Word: esoteric intellectualisation

Mystification of theory – rebounds – impact of the framed objects – cannot carry the weight of significance – become weak visual metaphors – for an esoteric intellectualisation


6.      Topic Sentence: We do not simply longer and better notes, but question the whole form of presentation Mary Kelly has chosen; such a heavy dependence on an inadequately presented theory can only distract attention from the 'artistic' nature of the work.

Key Word: nature of psychoanalysis

Because of inadequacy – exhibition is in danger – provoking impatient.

Two important related effects – firstly, depoliticising of vital feminist issues – secondly, confusion about nature of psychoanalysis

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