Friday, 25 September 2009
I'm kinda fascinated by this Bettina Rheims photo. I'm not going to refer to her other work, just would like to focus on this particular one.
This is from a series of women (but Rheims only photographs women) (un)dressed like some mythology/historical heroines, often referring to religion, obviously in a campy blasphemous way.
This one reminds me of the Bible woman "dark characters" - Lilith, Dalilah, Mary Magdalene or the harlot, who, though pardoned and praised by the Christ, has always remained in my head as a somewhat not entirely happy with her salvation. And the Rheims' model IS Lilith, as she takes away and reverses the power of the Snake by writing it, permanently, on her breast.
Why did the woman do the tatoo? did someone convinced her or made her to do it? did she do it for esthetical/religious reasons? Was it painful? People do far more harsh stuff to their bodies, but it fascinates me, why women decide on the mutilation of breasts, probably the most delicate part of our body. And tremendously powerful in symbolic sense: motherhood, feeding the baby, preserving life. In the Bible there is this passus about a woman, who blackens her breast to repel the baby from it and let it learn to eat other things, i.e. grow up. And this is obviously one of our greatest attractors, isn't it? which woman would deliberately get rid of one of her most indisputable powers? of course, lesbians, transgender women etc. Women that have no choice and try to survive cancer. Amazons, militant mythology women.
We sometimes find attraction in disgust and it is even to well documented.
And the round form of it, around the round nipple, at the same time embellishes and outrages from it.
I'm not even going to touch the snippet of the breast symbolism here, I just found this image strangely attractive and couldn't understand it. And when I can't understand, I have to find out.