Marni Kotak Turns Giving Birth Into Performance Art

The Birth of Baby X, 2012 digital video, color, sound 4 minutes 30 seconds

The Birth of Baby X, 2012 digital video, color, sound 4 minutes 30 seconds

Marni Kotak, “Surviving 6 Karpas (Beth Israel Psych Ward)”, 2014, photographic plaque, 40 x 24 inches (detail)

Marni Kotak, “Surviving 6 Karpas (Beth Israel Psych Ward)”, 2014, photographic plaque, 40 x 24 inches (detail)

All the Meds I Took

All the Meds I Took

Marni Kotak is off her meds. At least, she’s aiming for that. Prescribed a potent mixture of psychotropic medications in 2012 for her port-partum depression, Kotak’s latest work of performance art, “Marni Kotak: Mad Meds,” features her attempt to wean herself off medication.

Kotak’s 2011 work, “The Birth of Baby X,” was the literal progenitor of “Mad Meds,” culminating in the birth of Kotak’s son Ajax in front of an audience in the gallery space. This controversial exhibition was meant to “convey the authentic experience of [her] life as it is being lived, simultaneously engaging with audience members who become active participants in the actual events unfolding,” Kotak says. “The Birth of Baby X” was followed up by “Raising Baby X” (2011-ongoing), “Postpartum Depression” (2012), “Raising Baby X: The First Year” (2012), “Ajax’s First Birthday Party” (2012), “Raising Baby X: Playtime!” (2013), “Raising Baby X: Family Jam Session” (2013), and “Raising Baby X: Little Brother” (2012-ongoing). Is involving her son in her performances from literally the moment of his birth exploitive? What will it be like for Ajax when he’s old enough to realize that his childhood has been a public spectacle in the name of art?

“Mad Meds” does not involve other people in the performance, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not without its own complex issues.

The 6-week durational performance exhibition and installation finds Kotak addressing her personal struggles with her own mind, the US medical system, and the pharmaceutical industry as she attempts to withdraw from psychiatric medicines prescribed as follow-up treatment for post-partum depression more than two and a half years ago. (Source)

Depression can be agonizing; depression after childbirth can be especially isolating in its opposition to the socially acceptable construct of happy new mommy. Of course, Kotak is completely within her rights to wean herself from her medications if she feels that they’re not working correctly, or if the side-effects have become too overwhelming, or if she just wants to. Naming the 10-foot trophy in the work “Med-free and Happy,” though, has implications about psych meds and depression that go far beyond her performance. If Marni Kotak is able to publicly stop taking psychiatric medication as a work of art, that would be a personal act that she has chosen to share, as she did the literal moment of her son’s birth. If Marni Kotak is using her art to suggest that it is some kind of achievement to stop taking meds, the many, many people who are thankful every day that they are functioning and whole and able to live their lives because of the medication they take may have a different point of view.

Currently Trending

Advertise here !!!

Astounding Human Skulls Carved Into Delicate Mother Of Pearl Shells

skull-6skull-1skull-2skull-5

Carved carefully into the delicate surfaces of shells, Gregory Halili’s magnificent human skulls look like forgotten human fossils, discovered long after the extinction of our species. The New Jersey-based artist draws inspiration from the wild plant and animal life the Philippines, where he lived into his teenage years; his medium, black-lip and gold-lip mother of pearl, are gathered from the shores of the island country. The artist’s shimmering skulls are complex bas-reliefs, and his technique, which includes detailed oil painting, is evocative of ancient coins; in the place of hard metal lies a soft partially organic material, and portraits of kings are replaced with ominous skulls.

Halili’s skulls are poignantly fragile, far less durable than human bone. A single slip of a tool, and the tender piece is ruined. The shape of the shell lends itself to the humanoid form; encased within its circular bounds, the skull appears like a child in the womb. The shell material that once protected a gastropod with maternal determination, softly frames Halili’s expert carving. In this way, the artist forces a collision between birth, the “mother” of pearl, and death, represented here with the skull. Like relics washed ashore, these masterful pieces serve as a memento mori, reminding us of our own mortality, our creation and our inevitable demise. Take a look.

Halili’s work will be on view at New York City’s Nancy Hoffman Gallery beginning October 30th and through December 13th. He also has an upcoming show at Manila’s Silverlens Gallery. (via Colossal)

Currently Trending

Advertise here !!!

Milo Moire Drops Eggs From Her Private Parts To Create Abstract Paintings

vagina57

The German performance artist Milo Moire gives birth to her paintings… literally; in pushing eggs, filled with ink and acrylic paint, from her vaginal canal, she allows them to break and splatter onto a pristine white canvas. The unusual work, titled “PlopEgg,” necessitates that the artist be nude from head to toe, and it is the first of a series of similar performances at the opening of 2014’s Art Cologne fair.

For Moire, the work embodies the creative and spontaneous powers of femininity; her exposed body and vagina give rise to streaming rivers of earthy colors: rich reds, browns, and grays. The muddied hues recall human birth, from the breaking of the water to the release of blood; her hulking, straining body stands like a statue on high, and the act of labor is elevated, made majestic and potent. The visceral image of her lengthy squat, the cracking noise as egg hits pavement, serves as a testament to the symbolic strength of the vagina, the power of both woman and the creative mind to conceive and reproduce.

Inspired perhaps by Carolee Schneemann’s 1975 Interior Scroll (and even Casey Jenkins‘s recent vaginal knitting project), Moire uses her internal sex organ to birth something external and tangible, but she simplifies the process; where Schneemann removed complex words, Moire births primitive splashes of colors. In doing so, she doubles the sensuality and feminine context of her efforts; where text is often associated with maleness, the chaotic, free-flowing aesthetic of “EggPlop” is normally iconographically linked to womanhood.

At the close of her performance, the artist folds her paper canvas like a bed sheet, sweeping over it so as to transfer the paint from one side the another. In this way, the image is reproduced; like a cell divided, one becomes two. The symmetrical of the resultant image is also evocative of the female reproductive system, vividly mirroring the uterine structure. Take a look. (via Source Fed)

Currently Trending