PORTAL – Between the legs, backwards and upside down
In an illustration* from 1514 by Hans Baldung Grien, a woman stands on all fours, looking between her legs, backwards and upside down. She is trying to gain “a magical perspective on existence”. The illustration is one of many done by witches and prostitutes in the 16th century, pictures with a focus on female sexual stimulation, a reviled form of eroticism in its era.
“Portal” is a colourful assemblage of conjoined body parts. The widespread legs form a carnal portal and the act is “the wrong way around” – a symbol of the reversal of the traditional order. The pose is erotic and active, while plaster and paper is timeless, hard, dead materials, far from carnal.
How are you affected by seeing something turned upside down or inside out?
* Hans Baldung Grien’s etching New Year’s Wish with Three Witches, 1514
I use symbolism from animals, nature and folklore. The object and subject are concrete, but also touch on controversial associations such as body hair, sex and bare skin. By morphing binary opposites, I want to create more complex, perhaps atypical associations. I want to cast references about to create a tension between them.