Motherhood interferes with Feminism

I took Otto to the exhibition “Feminist and” imagining that he would sleep but he didn’t. With a 17 month old running through the galleries in front of me my main engagement with the exhibition was a continuous judgment as to each work’s potential to be either damaged or dangerous. We spent almost all our time kicking ping pong balls around “Written Room” by Parastou Forouhar. I can recall only four of the six pieces in the show now. Perhaps we missed a room, or perhaps the missing works were made of glass or other hazardous material.

This new reality is often extremely frustrating but there is also nice absurdity to it, especially in retrospect. My pace and focus is set by another person’s insatiable curiosity combined with my sense of responsibility. By myself I would probably have spend a minute or two in this space. As it is I can still hear the sound of the ping pong balls ricocheting off the walls.

I thought about Francis Alys’s fox let loose in a gallery overnight and imagined Otto alone in one of the grand galleries at the Carnegie Museum, filmed on the security cameras as he wanders about. Three seconds pressing the button on the fire extinguisher. Sixteen seconds lying on his back pointing. Two seconds looking at Monet’s Waterlillies, and so on. Then I imagined remaking other famous art works with a baby. Work once made safely in a studio, recreated with a loopy scramble of energy and emotion charging through, breaking things.

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One comment on “Motherhood interferes with Feminism
  1. Dear artist and mother,

    I often have to laugh when I read into your residency in motherhood. Actually I was already very much intrigued by the title, because as you will guess I am also a mother and an artist. I did some works about the pregnancy( the fatness,:-), the ephemeral moment) and my view of what I think my son is seeing, perceiving, etc. This part I never showed. and now, after coming back to your residency twice the spontaneous wish popped up in my mind to write you, to congratulate you for your work and observations and to agree with the difficulties of going to exhibitions with a little child. Since a year I have a second son and once in a while I try to show op at openings. Three months ago I went with my double buggy into three galleries. People looked at us like aliens and I was busy to make a cercle dance on the floor to watch the works while keeping them busy with the movements of the buggy. It hardly worked, some escaping word exchanges with people and after a while I left, feeling the pressure of being seen as mother and no artist anymore. Do not care, go on- this stays in my mind. That´s it, perhaps it is too much what I wrote, but I feel close to your work, I even thought perhaps you invite somebody to your residencyinmotherhood,:-))? Best wishes, Barbara

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