November 21, 2019

p.p1 sexuality and cry for freeing herself from the

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Annika von Hausswolff’s series of three photographs (Back to Nature, on the left side of the previous page) displays scenes of most horrific crimes perpetuated on women, the rape and a subsequent murder. All of the women are lying probably dead exposing naked back of the body, which suggests the sexual harassment. The natural background of the scenes and the title of the series, Back to Nature, address explicitly the oppressiveness of the Western thinking in binaries, where the woman is always at the side of nature in the culture/nature binary opposition. It which makes her vulnerable. The scene of Reinhardt’s murder (print Sylvia, in the right down corner of the previous page), on the contrary, is a kitchen, also a place patriarchally ascribed to women. Knowing, however, the history of an American poet Sylvia Plath, who committed suicide by putting her head in the gas oven, the viewer knows that the image does not suggest murder. Reinhardt seems to address the hardships of discrimination against women and the lack of alternatives. The woman in the Japanese artist Ryoko Suzuki’s photographs (Bind series, on the top right side of the previous page), on the other hand, is still alive. However, the viewer have the impression that the subject of the photographs is in agony. The Bind series presents photographs of the artist’s head extremely tightly wrapped with the pigskin, soaked before in blood. Her face becomes disfigured and unrecognizable, and stands symbolically for pain, violence and repression, that is put on particular women and generally the female body in the Western culture. According to Suzuki, “blood symbolizes female sexuality and the artist’s poignant transition from adolescence to womanhood.”106 Therefore, Suzuki through her work also tries to address her sexuality and cry for freeing herself from the binds of normalizing sexual ideologies and disciplines. My interpretation, nevertheless, points to the hardships of the patriarchal structures that frame woman’s life. In conclusion, all of three artists, Annika von Hausswolff, Claudia Reinhardt and Ryoko Suzuki, presented the problem of violence against women in an emotional and powerful way. The photographs catch the eyes of the viewers and somehow do not want to erase themselves from the memory. They are shocking and, most importantly, immensely thought-provoking. 

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