The Importance Of Abject Art

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Abject art explores themes of transgress and the factors which threaten our sense of cleanliness particularly referencing the body and its bodily function. It is an art form in which artists explore or incorporate abject substances, in which Kristeva describes as, hair, excrement, blood, dead animals (corpse), menstrual blood and semen in order to confront taboo issues of gender and sexuality.
Abject art has a strong feminist context, as female bodily functions in particular are still abjected by a patriarchal social order (TATE). Menstrual blood is a main marker of sexual difference. It reminds every subject of her origins both inside and outside of the female body, abjection is the fear of losing the border between self and other which
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She later remarked that many people were unaware of what the object was and referenced it as a bloody penis. Chicago expressed this ignorance as a testament to the damage done in our perceptual powers by the absence of female reality. Chicago proposed that “maybe the existing forms of art for ideas of men have had are inadequate for the ideas of women (wm).” She was promoting an art of difference. Many women also adopted vaginal iconography to reveal and celebrate the biological source of women’s difference (wm).
“Red Flag” emerged from her conversation with four other women about menstruation and how it is a taboo issue that was never discussed in art or literature. Menstruation is still is a taboo subject, an ignored mark of “otherness” suggesting the inadequacy in women. It is a natural bodily substance and bodily process women go through, so why could it not be discussed with admiration in art? The fetishization of women is acceptable in our society but this image a natural, everyday act is considered obscene and offensive. Red Flag rejects the normative patterns of domination and submission in our social order; women are no longer hiding behind the conventional, yet restricting, veil of
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Menstruation was and still is in most cultures associated with vulgar or disgusting abject qualities in which women are not to expose or express any slight inkling of it occurring in society. “Red Flag” expresses Kristeva’s theory of the abject as menstrual blood itself is a repulsive object, which represents a state situated outside the cultural world, in which we try to cast away. In Kristeva’s terms by being faced with this repulsion, blood and menstruation, the boundaries we sustain between nature and civilised society are blurred (p of h). This lithograph exposes this reality for open consideration, necessarily flouting ideals of good taste and feminine respectability in order to reclaim women’s own sexual and cultural power. Such a feminist intervention is necessary in its overt nature in order for public perception to grasp its true meaning and to explore the internalized taboos presented. Red Flag is not a white passive flag of surrender, admitting defeat and powerlessness but a soaring, passionate and colourful flag of defiance and
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