Feminism and Contemporary Art: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Laughter

By Jo Anna Isaak | Go to book overview

4

MOTHERS OF INVENTION

The mother is the faceless, unfigurable figure of a figurante. She creates a place for all the figures by losing herself in the background.

Jacques Derrida, “All Ears: Nietzsche’s Otobiography”

“Paternity may be a legal fiction,” Joyce speculates in the episode of Ulysses in which the proprietorial assumptions of man, both in the act of begetting and in the act of authorship, are brought into question. “Fatherhood, in the sense of conscious begetting is unknown to man. It is founded upon the void, upon incertitude, upon unlikelihood. Amor Matris, subjective and objective genitive, may be the only true thing in life” (1922:205). Motherhood may be the only fact of life about which we can be confident. A mother’s love, the dyadic relationship in which the mother and child are undifferentiated beings, oblivious to the outside world, complete unto themselves can, however, only be experienced nostalgically. We can only know it, attempt to articulate it, when it is over. Thus the adult fantasy of a self-less love is always marked by a sense of loss. For all the biological certainty of birth what mother, desiring briefly something beyond the child, has not wondered if this were really her child, and what child, unsatisfied with this site of origin, has not thought that her real mother must be someone/somewhere else? “Whatever the individual mother’s love and strength,” Adrienne Rich writes in Of Woman Born, “the child in us, the small female who grew up in a male-controlled world, still feels, at moments, wildly unmothered” (1976:225). Motherhood may also be an invention—an invention born of necessity whose role it is to save us from the void, the incertitude that patriarchy is based upon.

The following artists, all in different ways, are engaged in the process of reinventing motherhood. It is not that they seek to replace this idealized misapprehension with representations of the truth about maternity and originality. For even if a truth were to be found, it would not satisfy. Freud tells us how his own mother attempted to provide him with, if not the truth, then at least as good a fiction as any other:

-139-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Feminism and Contemporary Art: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Laughter
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Laughter 11
  • 2 - Art History and Its (dis)contents 47
  • 3 - Reflections of Resistance: Women Artists on the Other Side of the Mir 77
  • 4 - Mothers of Invention 139
  • 5 - Mapping the Imaginary 156
  • 6 - Encore 182
  • Notes 226
  • Bibliography 229
  • Index 236
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 248

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.