Greta, detail of her staff
Marie, detail with electric womb
Viola, detail with ray gun (which glows red)
So, there they are, The Four Housewives of the Apocalypse.
Today, I am working on the half-mannequin that will support the TV monitor, and I have named her Mademoiselle Gabrielle. Mademoiselle Gabrielle was a legless marvel from the early 1900’s. She was born in Basel, Switzerland in 1884 and began her freak show and exhibition career at the Paris Universal Exposition in 1900 as The Half-Woman. I thought that, in this exhibition and freak show, I would give her back her legs.
The TV monitor will be showing a looping video featuring film clips of me from old Super 8 movies, interspersed with ads featuring women from the 1940s-1960s. It will be my commentary about the mysterious gap in a woman's life that exists between playing with dolls and wanting to be the perfect housewife. I will leave the viewer with their own memories and theories about what happened in their own 'mysterious gap'.
It has been an interesting experience watching these old films of me. In one clip, I am kissing a stuffed animal and I was surprised that I immediately had a physical memory of rough fur against my lips and cheek. And I felt a simple kind of Happy. I laughed out loud. The mind is truly an amazing thing.
Being a nostalgic sort, these films are very important to me. Memories are incredibly important and the topic is one of the focal points of my art practice. Watching the films transport me to a time when the world was safe and amazing and full of things to discover. With every viewing, I go up into the attic of my mind, move many dusty boxes of memories, and unearth the childhood Happy.
When my parents finally divorced many years ago, my father took all the childhood movies of me and my sisters. When my mother discovered they were gone, she tried everything to get them back. She was unsuccessful and it broke her heart. Finally, 23 years later, my sister convinced my father to let us make copies of some of the films. I am grateful that I am able to feature some of the clips in my exhibition, although it is still hard for me to watch some of those innocent moments.
And I just have to say, my gawd, was I cute!
Tomorrow, I meet with writer Nadja Pelkey, so that she can prepare an essay for my exhibition. I am excited.