Carolee Schneemann: Remains to be Seen
- Neil Cooper
- 9 August 2012
This article is from 2012
Fascinating retrospective from the iconic artist
Torn-up black-and-white images of a woman taken almost half a century ago are laid out on the floor in criss-crossing strips, as multiples of the woman’s face stare out. This is Carolee Schneemann, performance artist, avant-provocateur and feminist icon, and she has been ripped to shreds.
This altar-like assemblage deconstructs images taken from Schneemann’s 1964 Eye Body series and forms a brand new contribution to this scaled-down retrospective of sorts featuring three recent video installations and a hitherto unseen set of photographs, Ice Naked Skating, from the same era. These feature a decidedly un-chilly looking Schneeman skating while holding her cat.
Used for years as ‘objective observers’ of her work, other cats feature in 2008’s Infinite Kisses – The Movie, a series of blurred close-ups of Schneemann and her pets getting affectionate. They’re there again in Devour, a split-screen montage of stock car crashes, suckling babies and dead bodies being picked over in war-zones. Precarious is a multi-channel document of Schneemann’s 2009 commission for Tate Liverpool that looks at notions of dancing in captivity. No cats, but a caged cockatoo and a bear on a chain suggest they too, like Schneemann, are breaking out all over.
Summerhall, 560 1590, until 27 Sep, free.