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Posted by Tom Megginson
| 14-10-2012 18:08 | Category:
Statement by the artist, Sophia Wallace (via Tumblr):
CLITERACY, 100 Natural Laws is mixed media project that explores a paradox; the global obsession with sexualizing female bodies in a world that is illiterate when it comes to female sexuality. CLITERACY is a new way of talking about citizenship, sexuality, human rights, and bodies. The project reveals the – phallic as neutral – bias in science, law, philosophy, politics, mainstream and even feminist discussion, and the art world - which is so saturated with the female body as subject. Using text as form, CLITERACY explores the construction of female sexual bodies as passive vehicles of reception defined by lack. It confronts a false body of knowledge by scientists who have resisted the idea of a unique, autonomous female body and rather studied what confirmed their assumption that women’s anatomy was the inverse of male anatomy, and that reproduction was worthy of study, while female sexuality was most certainly not. In the last ten years there have been tremendous scientific breakthroughs in the understanding of the clitoris. The clitoris is exponentially larger and more complex than commonly thought. What we think of as the clitoris, is only the tip of the iceberg. While this discovery is shocking in it’s late arrival, the problem of global ILLCITERACY is a salient allegory into the bigger problem of a female body, both cis and trans female, constructed by men, with false information, the goal of control and a culture that defines femaleness as inferior and female sexual organs as taboo. CLITERACY builds upon my photographic practice and ongoing exploration of how power shapes knowledge, often through use of the visual, for the purpose of social control.
CLITERACY is monumental in scope and scale with 100 Natural Laws that span 10 by 13 feet and a 6 foot neon piece suspended from the ceiling. CLITERACY, 100 Natural Laws was completed during my Van Lier Fellowship in the Art Law Residency.
It’s unfortunate that a statement about sexual literacy has some awkward typos in it, but that’s splitting hairs. Ms. Wallace’s celebration of the uniquely female pleasure organ is both politically and socially important in the “Year of The Vagina.”
(Although I would like to add that there are a few men out there who try to give the clitoris the respect it deserves.)
[more after the break]
Here is more of the project (via CLITERACY search on Tumblr):
CLITERACY 100 Natural Laws
Scenes a Faire Art & Law Residency Exhibition
On View: Oct. 5-21 at Dumbo Art Center
Artist Talk: Sophia Wallace Oct. 16, 7-8:30pm at Dumbo Art Center
111 Front Street, Suite 212, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Tel 718-694-0831 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Gallery Hours: 12 - 6pm Wednesday - Saturday, 12 - 5PM Sunday
You can see more work at her Facebook page.
Sophia Wallace (artist)
Sir Richard's Condoms (Facebook page)
Thank you for the kind post. I’m giving an Artist Talk about CLITERACY, 100 Natural Laws tomorrow, Oct. 16th at Dumbo Art Center (111 Front Street, Brooklyn, NY) from 7-8:30pm. I’ll be speaking in depth about the project and answering questions. In regards to your point about recognizing the men who give the clit the respect it deserves, there are several men who are emblazoned on the wall of CLITERACY, 100 Natural Laws for their wonderful work on the clit. The Saint of the Clitoris, in my view, is Dr Pierre Foldès, who has single handedly performed life changing surgeries on thousands of women to minimize the damage of female genital mutilation. He has been the one doctor in the world who has worked to repair the clitoris in women brutalized by female genital mutilation, with no support and many naysayers who told him nothing could be done. Foldès invented the procedure while working in Doctors Without Borders and is now in the process of training more doctors. Further, many men have quite a fond relationships with the clit. There is no way there would be so many successful long term relationships if this were not the case. The point of the work is to address the larger culture which is still illiterate when it comes to female sexual anatomy, to address the lack of visual representation of the true female sexual organ, and to start talking about sex in an honest way where female bodies are equal subjects. Finally, I ask that you reconsider the tag ‘womens issues’. Anyone who has sex with women, has women in their lives who they love and wish a happy, embodied life—should support female sexual anatomy being freed from the shackles of taboo, shame and violence. This is a human issue. CLITERACY is not just about sex, it is about citizenship, about whole personhood.
Thank you for kindly sharing my work with your audience. I sincerely appreciate it.
Posted by Sophia | 15-10-2012 21:01
Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, Sophia!
I hope to see the exhibit in person sometime.
Posted by Tom Megginson | 15-10-2012 21:06
There is also another man, Dr Dennis Mukwege. He is doing amazing work in the Congo working on repairing damaged vaginas of women who are being raped so brutally in that country.
Thank you on the cliteracy. Do you have any videos?
Posted by feminineallegiance | 26-10-2012 21:54
sophia, you are amazing. the work is fun. your responses on “women´s issues” and citizenship are to the point. hope to see it in person one day!
Posted by deb | 1-09-2013 23:41
Dear Sophia, I preciate so much your Work! I would like to know where to find the list of your 100 Laws? These are as revolutionary as Wilhelm Reich s Work to free sexuality in Berlin with Young people and later during his Whole life.
Where to read these 100 Laws? Thanks a lot Hélène
Posted by Helene JAUTEE | 5-09-2013 04:12
Thank you for the kind words everyone.
You can see the video here:
At this point, I am only showing the entire 100 Laws of CLITERACY in art exhibitions. But I think it would be a good idea to post all 100 laws online. I appreciate your comparison Hélène. Which institutions do you all think would have the courage to show CLITERACY? I’m particularly interested in showing it outside, in open public spaces.
Posted by Sophia Wallace | 5-09-2013 04:28
I would love to read these. Is there anywhere on line or in print that I can see them.
Posted by LINDA KEITH | 6-09-2013 15:39
I would be interested in buying a print when they are made. I would like it smaller than the original please. Please let me know what size it will be so I can figue out where I can put it up. If it is full size I think it will cover my basement (rec room) walls. No need for wallpaper. Now that I think of it wallpaper would be a great idea. If you use this idea can you please send me some for free for the idea . My house burnt a few years ago so I am not putting anything up until I hear about the prints or wallpaper.
Posted by Llinda Keith | 6-09-2013 15:49
Thank you for your kind response. You can order a print now.
CLITERACY Art Prints, limited edition, hand-printed, on cotton rag
CLITERACY hand printed Tshirts &Tanktops;
I’m wrapping print orders today and would be happy to put yours in the mail if you want. Thank you for investing in CLITERACY.
Posted by Sophia Wallace | 6-09-2013 16:40
Are you going to exhibit in countries around the world? possibly including New Zealand??
Posted by Jade Patricia | 20-10-2013 02:00