Excerpts from Writing By Hannah Wilke
|Hannah Wilke: gum sculptures on paper
I become my art, my art becomes me....My heart is hard to handle, my art is too. Feel
the folds; one-fold, two-fold, expressive, precise gestural symbols.... Eat a fortune cookie,
don't ask me to sign it. Kneaded erasers; the grayer softer chaos that is tragedy....Needed erase her? Don't....
Laundry lint; residual magic rearranging the touch of sensuality. Terra cotta; the tragedy of multiple romances; latex rubber,
the loose arrangements of love vulnerably exposed.... A performance; Starification, or S.O.S....
object - I Object....The double-folded gestural drawings made from gum....These drawings, like Morse code across the wall,
relate the many individuals who touched me and I am touched by their lives, not their death.
(Excerpts from Hannah Wilke Letter in Art: A Woman's Sensibility, Feminist
Art Program, California Institute of the Arts, 1975.)
Intercourse with ...
Since 1960, I have been concerned with the creation of a
formal imagery that is specifically female, a new language that fuses mind and body into erotic objects that are namable and
at the same time quite abstract. Its content has always related to my own body and feelings, reflecting pleasure as well as
pain, the ambiguity and complexity of emotions. Human gestures, multi-layered metaphysical symbols below the gut level translated
into an art close to laughter, making love, shaking hands ... Eating fortune cookies instead of signing them, chewing gum
into androgynous objects ... Delicate definitions ...Rearranging the touch of sensuality with a residual magic made from
laundry lint or latex loosely laid out like love vulnerably exposed ... continually exposing myself to whatever situation
occurs ... gamboling as well as gambling.
( Excerpts from complete text originally
written for Guggenheim Foundation Grant, 1976; text used in Intercourse with ... videotape performance and lecture,
1977. Published in Hannah Wilke: A Retrospective, University of Missouri Press, 1989.)
Visual Prejudice has caused world wars, mutilation, hostility,
and alienation generated by fear of "the other."... The pride, power, and pleasure of one's own sexual being threaten cultural
achievement, unless it can be made into a commodity that has economic and social utility.... To diffuse self-prejudice, women
must take control of and have pride in the sensuality of their own bodies and create a sensuality in their own terms,
without referring to the concepts degenerated by culture.... to touch, to smile, to feel, to flirt, to state, to insist on
the feelings of the flesh, its inspiration, its advice, its warning, its mystery, its necessity for the survival and regeneration
of the universe.
(Excerpts from complete text originally published in American
Women Artists, exhibition catalogue, Museo d' Arte Contemporani, Sao Paulo, 1980. Published in Hannah Wilke:
A Retrospective, University of Missouri Press, 1989.)
I OBJECT Memoirs of a Sugargiver
History is a dialectical process. To honor Duchamp is to oppose
him. The bachelors, after all, have separated themselves from their feminine parts. To reconcile this dilemma is not
to co-opt the feminine, but to be ... Feminine. To strip oneself bare of the veils that society has imposed on humanity is
to be the model of one's own ideology. The role model is now both the woman and the artist herself--Hannah Wilke Through
the Large Glass-- no longer an ornament for society to wear but, in the face of nudity, beyond transparency ... transcendent.
(Excerpts from I Object, complete text published in Marcel
Duchamp and the Avant Garde Since 1950, exhibition catalog, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany, 1988. Sections published
in Hannah Wilke: A Retrospective, University of Missouri Press, 1989. )
|Hannah Wilke Through the Large Glass (still) , 1976