Post-Partum Document by Mary Kelly
As an artist she forces into public view the unacceptable combination of roles mother/artist – a slap in the face for old guard concepts of the artist as freewheeling genius; as a feminist she focuses on the contradictory emotions that necessarily come with motherhood, which have been almost taboo as a subject for art in male dominated culture.
Topic sentence: Traditionally, the ability to produce children and the emotional relationship that ensues has been held up as the reason for women's lack of creativity.
Mary Kelly's exhibition-Post-partum document – crucial contribution. Combination of roles mother/artist – freewheeling genius – motherhood – subject for art.
Topic sentence: The exhibition was a direct provocation to conventional concepts of "art".
Key words: emphasis on work – than – art-object-for-critical-evaluation
Topic sentence: The complexity of the language in Post-Partum Document and the many different ideas presented simultaneously did place a great burden on the spectator.
Radical art practice – art works as purely objects – exhibition space to give documentation – the force of argument. Deprives object market value – meaning only if work put in by the artist – complemented by spectator – reading the documentation – understanding the theories.
Topic sentence: Individually they may have been disparate without meaning, but linked and organized by the artists, the whole could take on a new level of significance.
Key words: real objects, records – collected together – evidence – particular economic situation.
Topic sentence: In Post-Partum Document Mary Kelly uses her relationship with her infant son as her raw material.
Key words: exhibition two distinct parts – objects and records acting as factual evidence of the past – written separate documentation to give commentary and structure to the actual exhibits.
Topic sentence: The completeness of the two is broken as the father as authority and the nursery school introduce the child to another world of "law and culture".
First room – complementary relationship – mother's frustrated anxiety and the child's frustrated helplessness – smoothened by pleasure - eroticism of physical interdependence – narcissistic satisfaction – completeness as a couple. Second room – child's gradual acquisition of language – mother cope with sense of loss – child social independence.
Topic sentence: Her aim is to distance the emotion by putting the dilemma into a wider context: the way women's unconscious is shaped by patriarchy.
Exhibits – reminiscent - women's traditional means of self-expression. Organises material – attempt to turn – unspoken and culturally repressed - everyday experience – into art – inspired by feminism and psychoanalysis.
Topic sentence: Mary Kelly's use of psychoanalysis is a direct result of recent work by feminists and growing interest within the women's movement.
Key words: "feminity" – not as natural essence – complicated edifice – patriarchy demands – "masculinity" meaning and strength.
Topic sentence: Mary Kelly evokes the impact that producing a child has on women whose unconscious desires are formed within the confines of the castration complex.
Child grows – independence from mother – mother experiencing sense of loss – undergoing castration – re-learning the fact – negative place in symbolic order. Mother's possibilities - recognition and acceptance - or – rebellion. Rebellion – form of fetishisation of the child – refusing child's independence.
Topic sentence: the exhibition throws a spotlight on the need to explore further the labyrinthine unconscious structures that lie behind the natural looking façade "motherhood", but Mary Kelly is limited by a theory biased – though not invalidated – by patriarchal assumptions.
French psychoanalyst influence – Jacques Lacan – Post-Partum Document. Exhibition prevails – voice to the pain and pleasure of women as mothers – despised by dominant culture.