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Att måla med det vita bläcket: Monica Sjöö och Kosmos inom hennes livmoder
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Communication, Art history.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7933-246X
2012 (Swedish)In: Tidskrift för Genusvetenskap, ISSN 1654-5443, Vol. 4, no 4, 105-128 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article grapples with the painting Cosmos in her Womb from 1971, by the Swedish artist and British resident Monica Sjöö (1938-2005), which was recently acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm. Sjöö is an artist that is both at the centre of feminist art history and somewhat kept to one side; her work is often included in larger surveys of feminist art, yet rarely interpreted. The article argues that in order to approach the painting, one has to look at it from within its own time and the women’s movement in the 1970’s in which the artist was heavily involved.

In her article from 1975 Hélèn Cixous calls for women to start writing in white ink, an ink that is coloured by the experience of being born in a woman’s body. Sjöö’s painting was created a few years before and also Sjöö was, during her whole career, engaged with the idea of the “woman’s experience”. 

The article argues that in whichever way this painting is approached, by understanding it’s figure, it’s symbolism, or even the roughness of the placard-like material (paint on masonite), it all falls back on the political and spiritual quest of Monica Sjöö. There can be no analysis of this work without taking into account the political situation and the need for expressing the woman’s experience during the late 1960s and early 1970s.  The article is a close study of this particular piece which is approached from a four different points of view: the historical context of the painting within the women’s movement; the need to speak from a woman’s experience; the political and theoretical differences of representing the woman’s body in art and lastly the idea of protest presented through the painting. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 4, no 4, 105-128 p.
Keyword [en]
Monica Sjöö, eco-feminism, women's movement, 1970s
National Category
Art History
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-18407OAI: diva2:604119
Available from: 2013-02-07 Created: 2013-02-07 Last updated: 2016-08-30Bibliographically approved

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