sexual domesticity? by adele on 2010-01-17
This work seems to point at a few things. The use of the high heel shoe may denote feminine sexuality. We often associate these kinds of shoes with desire and even sex. They are definitely a much fetishized object. Perhaps the paper collars on the end of the heels suggest the domestic aspect to a woman's life. Cooking a roast chicken makes us think of a kitchen, or a family dinner, or a wife slaving away in the kitchen preparing the sunday roast. These two seemingly opposing feminine attributes ate 'bound' together with string which also acts as a technical device for helping to keep the shoes together in a roast chicken-like shape. Her very clever use of materials and her satirical visual language brings a hint of humor to the work and the way it is presented on a plate really makes you believe it is to be dished up on the dinner table. The title, however, is a little mystery to me. Perhaps her nursemaid looked like a roast chicken, or cooked the best roast chicken, or was perhaps caught in the dichotomy of being a woman in the early 1900's (sexual repression and domestic responsibility). Maybe Oppenheim herself felt like a nursemaid, repressed by her own sexuality? Who knows? But if we put this work into some kind of artistic/historical and cultural context we might understand a bit more about the intentions behind the work and more about what it means to be woman in what was largely a male dominated art scene (surrealism)and for that matter, cultural society.
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