Essays

Postcards to Performance (About Time)

March 2017

 

Helen Chadwick, Domestic Sanitation, 1976.

 

A lady smokes. She is wearing a calico dress with bows and fringe ties. Is she a hairdresser or a beautician? One other girl is dressed in pink, with big red nipples, and platforms on her feet. The girl in the chair is wearing white, and is ready for her consultation. The half-woman-half-bed looks angry, as she peels herself away from the springs.

 

In another image, black and white this time, a woman dressed in a black satin slip gazes into a mirror, her lacy accessories hanging on rails to choose from. Bras, gloves, stockings. Delicious fabrics to eat. Is this part of the performance or is she just getting ready? Like the photograph as a trace of the performance, her body is in shadow, a flicker of the past. I write according to this flicker, speculating, desiring, that this is the body of Helen.

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