Monday, 14 May 2012

The Great Wall of Vagina x Jamie McCartney

UK artist and sculptor Jamie McCartney addresses the 'art' of labiaplasty - the process of 'prettying' up your vagina - in a new exhibition entitled The Great Wall of Vagina, which features a wall of 400 plaster cast vulvas made from women aged between 18 to 76-years-old.

Continuing his fascination with female flesh, this latest display celebrates female genitalia and aims to challenge the rise in cosmetic labial surgery, known as 'design a vagina'.
It's a bold assault on the aesthetics of perfection and explores how the vagina is a symbol of female empowerment and individuality. 

It's also the first time I have stared at so many different lady-parts in one night, all in one go. 

As Jamie says, 
"Vulvas and labia are as different as a faces and many people, particularly women, don’t seem to know that… showing the variety of shapes is endlessly fascinating, empowering and comforting. For many women their genitals are a source of shame rather than pride and this piece seeks to redress the balance, showing that everyone is different and everyone is normal."
Hmm, "fascinating" and "comforting"... really? It's not like I didn't already know women's lady-bits are as varied as a packet of those Belgian chocolate misshapes; and standing staring at a wall full of vulvas is hardly "empowering" when you can see people next to you pointing, giggling and saying, "ooh, look at that one, it's like a pair of curtains".

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against vagina pride, but if you're expecting a sexy eroticism at this exhibition, then you won't find it. The thick aluminium frames which hang on the stark white walls contrast against the textured curves of the casts giving an almost architectural strength. It's sort of impressive, but it's not pretty, a bit like porn culture, which Jamie believes has contributed to women having a skewed perception of the 'perfect' vagina. He either watches lots of porn, or I don't watch enough. By the end of the evening I was snatched-out.
I also had to suppress the overwhelming urge to ask Jamie“what's the worst cooch you’ve ever seen?”.
I know. I cringe. I’m sorry. Don't pay me any attention, go and see the what all the hoo-haa is about for yourself.

The exhibition is open now until June 2 at the Hay Hill Gallery in Mayfair.


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