Carolee Schneemann: Remains to be Seen (4 stars)

This article is from 2012

Carolee Schneemann: Remains to be Seen

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.

Carolee Schneemann at Summerhall

Infinity Kisses - The Movie


Carolee Schneemann

  • 4 stars

Carolee Schneemann for once deserves the word 'iconic'; from being a muse to Joseph Cornell and performing with Robert Morris, she's gone on to create a body of her own work that set a new standard in coupling intellectual integrity with visceral intensity, with unforgettable works such as Meat Joy, Interior Scroll and Up…