Monday, August 24, 2009


I have always loved the body of work, Post Partum Document by conceptual artist Mary Kelly.
This work documents the first 4 years of her sons life, not by photographs but from evidence and meticulous records of his existence.

Post-Partum Document: Documentation IV
Transitional Objects, Diary and Diagram,

In a press release about this complex body of work this was written:

In the "Introduction," Kelly ... presents the work's main motif - intersubjectivity - which she has drawn on four baby vests, using one of Lacan's early diagrams. The subsequent sections document the development of the child up to age five and analyze the reciprocity of the process of socialization of mother and child. The vests, dirty diapers, traces of markings and writing, hand imprints, and insect specimens stand for the mother’s memorabilia and how she makes sense of separation from the child. The artist has added diary-like notes and quasi-scientific data to these private objects so that subjective references are juxtaposed with the more distanced or theoretical approaches represented by the diagrams.

In her critical engagement with psychoanalysis and feminism as well as her provocative stance vis-a-vis conceptualism, Mary Kelly has succeeded in creating a multi-faceted artwork documenting one of modernism's central and most symptomatic blind spots: the woman as artist and mother. Her seven-year process of reflection and visualization has meanwhile assumed a unique place within art history.

Analysed Faecal Stains and Feeding Charts

I admire Kelly's taking on of the subject matter of mother and child, especially in the 70's when most female artists were hiding there families or choosing not to have them in order to gain respect. The 70's Feminist movement finally allowed women to explore their very woman-ness as subject and Kelly went to the ultimate subject of the female birthing body.

Analysed Utterances and Related Speech Events

Though the work may seem somewhat clerical and sterile. The devotion and meticulousness of the work seems to be a form of evidence towards the complex love between mother and child.

Analalyzed markings and diary perspective.

I hope that when I have a child I can be equally inspired to make an important and courageous body of work as Kelly has been. Though I am sure mine would be quite different in nature... I hope it is quite equal in courage. To see more of Post-Partum document go here.


Public Art School said...

I just love your blog.

Thank you for showcasing such powerful and inspiring work with textiles. I too am a textile artist ( I have been in need of seeing new, cutting edge stuff and a friend just recommended I check out your site.

Best Regards-

Wylie Sofia Garcia

Joetta M. said...

so glad you like the blog. It is amazing how much wonderful textile art of being made out there.
I checked out your site and your installation work was very fascinating...the textures are great.
be in touch.