Edit Module

Cut It Out: Feminist Collage Artist Liz Peniazeva's Queer Contact Relations

We’re swept up in the disarticulation.


Published:

Liz Peniazeva, photographed by Tim Da Rin.

 

It was 38 years ago, in 1979, that conceptual artist Judy Chicago unveiled her seminal feminist art piece, “The Dinner Party,” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern. Dinner Party functions as a symbolic history of women in Western civilization, and, crucially, it signaled the beginning of a movement to reclaim “traditionally female” art practices – in Chicago’s case, embroidery and stitch work were transformed from indexical traces of domestic oppression into puncturing reminders of the different ways in which herstory has been recorded. While men had pens, women had needle and thread.

 

Judy Chicago's "The Dinner Party" 

 

Fast forward almost four decades, and the pioneering work that Chicago was doing remains vitally relevant—"The Dinner Party" currently resides in Brooklyn Museum’s collection and has done since 2002. As women’s bodily and reproductive autonomy continues to be cast as an issue that is somehow up for debate, sexual assault is almost inevitably paired with slut-shaming, and sex workers struggle to retain even minimal legal rights, art that severs traditional expectations of women and the female body is not just beneficial, but necessary.

 

 

Left: Untitled, Right: Girls, Girls, Girls; by Liz Peniazeva

 

Liz Peniazeva is a Sydney based artist who is using collage – an artistic practice often derided for its associations with “girly” and “childish” activities like scrapbooking – to force us to rethink notions of gender, domesticity and sexuality.

 

Collecting and working with vintage ephemera, Liz re-contextualises archaic representations of women into scenes that rupture expectations of femininity. She arranges clippings from publications that typically target women – such as gardening and craft books – and in so doing builds new environments for women to exist in brazenly, enveloped in self-conscious satire and playfulness. 

 

Recent works by Liz  Peniazeva, photographed by Tim Da Rin.

 

Oftentimes figures of women are taken from their traditional visual landscapes, and spliced into new, strange contact relations. The erotic charges that ensue are both a product of the viewer’s imagination, and a startling reminder to consider the ways in which our society fetishizes and objectifies lesbian relationships.

Liz’s works are sometimes disturbing, sometimes sexy, and sometimes, confusingly, both. Take a look

 

Judy Chicago designing the entry banners; Courtesy of Through the Flower Archive

 

And if you're keen to know more about The Dinner Party, we highly recommend checking out an exhibition coming to Brooklyn Museum on October 20, entitled Roots of “The Dinner Party”: History in the MakingBrooklyn Museum is the permanent home of the work since 2002, and this exhibition will examine the formal, material, and conceptual development of The Dinner Party. It will present never-before-seen objects that illuminate the installation’s development as a multilayered artwork, a triumph of collaborative art-making, and a testament to the power of revising Western history to include women. If you’re around NYC, make it a dinner date. 

Edit ModuleEdit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

How The Nazis Destroyed The First Gay Rights Movement

In the 1930s, the Depression spread economic anxiety. Fascist parties offered Europeans a choice of stability at the price of democracy. They said that expanding liberties gave “undesirable” people the liberty to undermine security and threaten traditional “moral” culture. LGBT people were an obvious target.

Wild Rainbow African Safaris

Wild Rainbow African Safaris began in 2004 as the direct result of Jody Cole’s unbridled passion for Africa. Owned and operated by Jody, the business runs under one simple philosophy: ensure every traveler has the time of their life.

A revival of a forgotten lesbian play.

A play by Merril Mushroom recreates lesbian life before Stonewall and reminds us of how far we've come.

The Qur’an, The Bible And Homosexuality In Islam

Neither the Bible nor the Qur’an (Koran) has a lot to say about homosexuality, and what they do say relates only indirectly to contemporary discussions about gay rights and same-sex marriage.

Add your comment: