Redefinition of the Body in Feminist Art (1960s and 1970s)

Document Type : Research Article


1 lecturer / Kerman Islamic Azad university

2 Associated proffessor

3 null


In the contemporary era, the body has been the focus of attention of different human life aspects and has been one of the issues undergoing serious critical rethinking. In the past few decades, contemporary art has witnessed transformation of artworks revolving around the body. The presence of the body in these works is set predominantly in opposition to the Western aesthetic discourse until the end of modern art period. The feminist art emerging in the late 1960s, through anti-war, civil and feminist movements, is regarded as one of the most important origins of changes in the status of the body in contemporary art. The present research aims to study feminist body art in the 1960s and 70s and examine its theoretical and social context, as one of the major origins of changes in the meaning and status of the body in the contemporary Western art. The assumption of this research is the transformation in the meaning and status of the body in connection with changes in the social configuration and theoretical foundations of feminist artworks, which shows a position in contrast to traditional (and modern) representations of the body in Western art. For this purpose, first the relationship between key concepts and categories, as concurrent theoretical trends, is analyzed based the post-structuralist approach and ideas of feminist theorists. Then, the transformations in the status and presence of the body in the selected feminist artworks as compared to previous eras, are explained and analyzed. This study, which is of qualitative type, has been conducted using descriptive-analytical methodology, and the library method has been utilized to collect data. The findings of the study indicate that the representation of the body in feminist art (in the period in question) has been in contrast with the aesthetic norms of the body dominant in Western art up to the end of modernist art period. In these works, body is depicted as an active, dynamic agency in interaction with the audience and social issues, with an emphasis on the process rather than the end product of art. From this point of view, the most important transformation in the status of the body in the works of feminist artists is the metamorphosis of the status of traditional body from an objectivized and metaphorical image into a self-conscious subject in connection with identity categories.


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