Mary Kelly, Post-Partum Document, 1972-79

There is so much to say about this. These are fragments of her child’s life that she documented (and there are many more). The first image is a Rosetta-stone like tablet which documents the child’s entrance into language. It shows her child’s first letters, her observations as a mother, and then other observations in a clinical, scientific language. The second photo is I suppose swaddling clothes for the baby when first born.

Anyways, one thing that can be said about this is that the audience never sees the mother nor the child, only fragments of the child’s life and fragments of the mother’s thoughts. It is using Brecht’s idea of distanciation that engages the viewer with the piece because the viewer has to piece together all the fragments to create an image. No images can be fetishsized like this.

On top of this, it is also a response to the clinicalization of women’s bodies. A response to how women’s bodies are regulated, especially when it comes to reproduction.

Notes

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