vaginal vs uterine

 

toyen01“Surrealists were the first to freely express in their work human sexual desire in a modern way, and this is true for male and female artists alike. But some of the paintings I have already seen by Surrealist women such as Ithell Colquhoun, Leonor Fini, Valentine Hugo, Dorothea Tanning and Toyen give me the idea to be still focused on nakedness and genitality which are, I suppose, more distinctive of a masculine concept of eroticism. Afterwards, recourse to vulva’s explicit representation in female erotic art, for instance in some of Judy Chicago’s works, seems to have a more symbolic value and to originate from a feminine awareness that would be nearly impossible to have when Surrealism was at its peak. In general, I feel present feminist art is more concerned with the integration of woman sexuality in a more complete female physiology consciousness rather than with a typical male urge for showing, watching/be watched and possessing/be possessed. To summarize my theory, I would say that the early appearing of eroticism in women artists’ work is somehow “vaginal”, now it is “uterine”: woman ceases to be a sexual object or a sexual subject, but under the rules of men’s perspective, and discovers her rules; her body isn’t anymore only welcoming, but is menstruating and birth-giving too. Complementarity with male isn’t anymore exclusively genital, but philosophical and psychological: man’s will to dominate nature is counterbalanced by woman’s capacity of being simply part of it. These are my thoughts about eroticism’s historical evolution in female art. We could add that male artists tend preferably to develop the sexual meaning of the word “Eros”, while female artists can merge the physical, the emotional and the social meanings of that word.”
-Baudino

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