Among the most influential feminist artists working today, Mary Kelly (b.1941) first came to prominence as a Conceptual artist in 1976 with the controversial Post Partum Document series, notorious for incorporating her baby’s dirty nappies. She creates large series of indexical works – drawings, images, text panels, photographs – which combine investigations into the diverse relations between psychoanalysis, feminism and art.
Kelly often deploys prevailing literary or scientific genres, ranging from romantic fiction to psychoanalytical and medical diagnoses that define women as ‘other’. She subtly yet insistently turns them on their head with her own richly textured narratives and images. While phases in her work have been represented in catalogues, Kelly’s complete oeuvre has never been published before in its entirety.
In the Survey, art historian Margaret Iverson explores Kelly’s substantial oeuvre using three classical yet contentious Freudian themes: fetishism, hysteria and paranoia. Author of On the Museum’s Ruins and numerous articles on AIDS, Douglas Crimp talks with the artist about her work within a broader critical context. Homi K. Bhabha, author of Locations of Culture, focuses on Gloria Patri, a work revolving around masculinity and the Gulf War. Mary Kelly has chosen writings by the philosopher and psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva and the novelist Lynne Tillman. Kelly’s theoretical writings have been central to postmodern discourse. In addition to key texts, this book includes interviews and examples of her fiction from Interim.
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