Thursday, August 21, 2014

Birth of Venus and Propped

Sandro Botticelli
Birth of Venus, 1485
Oil on canvas
172.5 x 278.5cm

1. About the painting and influences
2. Uffizi Museum info
3. Humanism and Neoplatonism
Jenny Saville
Propped, 1992
Oil on canvas
213.5 x 183cm

1. Article 1
2. Independent newspaper article on Saville - Propped
3. Re-invention of the beautiful
4. "Branded"

"Propped was the last piece I did for my degree show. And the quote is from a French feminist writer. I wanted the idea of a female body that is put on a pedestal to look at, to observe and it is almost like a bird the way I have painted it with the heel shoes and the connotation that brings in the language of women as birds or chicks."
Jenny Saville

The French text carved in reverse, to imply the self scrutiny of looking into a mirror, translates, 
“if we continue to speak in this sameness, speak as men have spoken for centuries, we will fail each other again”
By Feminist writer, Luce Irigaray

"There was "immense conviction" in making these pictures, she says, and an element of self-loathing. "There is in everybody. We are taught to judge ourselves from a very young age, to groom ourselves." And this creates a neurosis for women, she says. "You see this dichotomy in women's magazines all the time: an article on breast cancer - empowering; an article on skin products that make you look younger - neurotic."
Jenny Saville talking to Suzie Mackenzie in The Guardian, Saturday 22 October 2005

"More influential, more enduring in her work, is the experience of sitting in on plastic surgery operations. You realise something about the flesh, she says, when you see a surgeon put his hand through a woman's breast. Or smell the burning of a facial peel. You realise that the flesh is everything. "It's all things. Ugly, beautiful, repulsive, compelling, anxious, neurotic, dead, alive." And it is nothing. "Eventually we expel ourselves. We rust away. Our own body rejects us. I don't find that tragic."
Jenny Saville talking to Suzie Mackenzie in The Guardian, Saturday 22 October 2005