View the culmination of four years exploration into the socio-cultural concerns about femininity, feminism, the body, individual control and consumption.
Sarah Misselbrook’s work embodies new processes and ways of externalising a very internalised self-analysis of the ‘body’ personal focussing on cultural obsessions and preoccupations.
Experience the ongoing dialectic with issues around the artist’s body. Discover the fetishistic acts of moulding, licking, measuring and improving. Feel, smell, eat the work.
“I have approached this subject with personal urgency. How we transform the raw of the female into the cooked of the feminine must be the choice of the individual woman. Today, the body of fashion appears to be taut, small-breasted, narrow hipped, and of a slimness bordering on emaciation; it is a silhouette that seems more appropriate to an adolescent boy than to an adult woman.”
The disciplined quest for femininity seems to be a set-up; it requires such radical and extensive measures of bodily transformation that virtually every woman who joins this ’project’ is surely destined to fail. I believe that the current ‘tyranny of slenderness’ means that women are forbidden to become large or even remotely overweight, as they must take up as little space as possible. In other words, today requires us, as women, to own a body that is lacking in flesh. The cult of this physical perfection often leads to obsession and neurosis. There is an extent to which we can change our bodies to accommodate the often-unrealistic feminine ideal, beyond these limits our bodies become sick, or disintegrate altogether.
The woman who checks her make up, who worries that the wind or rain will ruin her hair style, who feels fat so counts every calorie, who shaves every ‘unwanted’ hair from her silky smooth body, who manicures and paints her nails; she has become a self-policing subject, committed to a relentless self surveillance, a form of obedience. I have shaved my head, ridding my body of this supposedly feminine attribute and the commercial cleaning; treating and grooming that goes along with it. In a peculiar fashion, I feel empowered. I can identify with the self-starver. Whether a morbid curiosity or a therapeutic exercise, this ‘body’ of work has been an insight into myself. Self, mind; not image………” MISSELBROOK