If there is a work of art that has comprehensively grasped, visualized, and contextualized the complexities of sensory and bodily experience in relation to a system, or more precisely, a structuralist matrix, it is Mary Kelly’s Post-Partum Document (1974–79). In this pioneering work, the artist addressed a topic that had been taboo—the subjective and physical experience of birth and motherhood—and lent it form by translating it into the systematic structure of a decidedly conceptualist aesthetic. Post-Partum Document was unsparingly analytical and revealed the conventions and stereotypes at work in feminism as well as Conceptual art. Kelly transcended the artistic and conceptual agenda of by resorting to methods from both psychoanalysis (Lacan) and the sciences. With its critical and yet affirmative stance toward Conceptual art, Post-Partum Document I. Prototype manifests the same “cracks,” contradictions, and paradoxes within Conceptual art that Gertrud Sandqvist traces in the exhibition Against Method.
Held as part of Vienna Art Week