Leak/Vuoto, watercolour paintings from 1998

Paintings done by me during art school 1998. As an art student I was very influenced by my experiences as a young woman and by many female artists who fearlessly had explored femininity, double standards in art and difficulties in being a woman. How there has been this message that one should be ashamed of one’s body, its fluids, functions, the way body looks, what it is for and what it does. I have been fascinated by how little we have control over our bodies, over how it is seen, commented, looked at and what does it do, the body, that I am, but that has a will of its own. For example having had hugely painful period has been a one thing turning my life upside down once a month and this flooding phenomenon that is a taboo all over the world today still remains mysteriously disgusting and horrifying to many. All this is painful and remains so when female body is obscene and feared, so something one wants to understand and respect should be the case. What is the shame there, what is the dirtiness and scare?

Since there are people today who feel disgusted by menstruation art, that this issue is now called such, I must again put this forward, that women’s bodies belong to women and they do what they want with their bodies and menstruation being one thing women experience in its messiness and pain, shame and irritation, all it brings to us, as private as it may be, it is an everyday normal bodily function and a very important one. The leaking body, that has a way of its own is gorgeous and menstruation should be respected instead of felt disgusted by. And blood is not blue..

Penalty of forever you will be branded.

Woman sexually is a target. She is a target as a mind and size of small that must be taught into fitting ideological mold, bound and told what to do. Bad women do not do what they are told to do, which also becomes a silent mode of knowing what is expected of you, so to do what is unexpected is always a victory. When woman is sexually active and shows this in public she is a beast, a whore, stupid enough to do otherwise than what is expected of her and an out of control freak mostly who is seen in negative light and must be punished. Penalty is shame and leaving outside the group of those who keep themselves within comprehensive and civil boundaries which are set to females. It is no wonder outspoken and loud woman is seen arrogant and rude. Dressing provocatively is always a sign of certain kind of looseness, bad taste and wildness that is not permitted behavior for proper women who obey rules. Those rules which are for women are to maintain order and follow religious mentalities, know religious penalties, divisions and fears. What happens to a woman who is disobedient, goes where she should not and does what she pleases following rules of her own mind disrespecting traditional place of woman, normative behavioral rules and regulations of what is good to do and what is not. Good is keeping the society unchanged.

Man is manly when he fucks around, woman is doomed. Man is doing his manly fun, woman is doing out of stupidity and irrationality, out of sheer irresponsibility and ignorance, coldness and because women are not to be trusted. And because she is diminished into carer of man understanding his flimsy ways, still he is not weak, she is. He has got back up which is the whole of manhood and men who do what they urge to do and are allowed. It is no wonder women are weaker in this context of violence and minimizing. They have a heavy burden to carry and wall of prohibitions in front. They are not to lift heavy weights but they do so without anyone noticing the burden lifted weighs a ton or two. One burden is a burden of history and tradition which loads have not moved that much even though we like to think we have made progress. It is difficult for many to look at their genitals or say their correct names out loud. When asked whether women can say vagina and think it is perfectly normal without shame result is many find it awkward. Yes why on earth say vagina aloud in this overly sexualized world. We don’t say it we go around it. Still sex is the most talked about topic, topic that raises scandals, emotions, storms because of daring to address the issue or doing something that breaks the rules of obedient society where nothing much changes other than the gadgets.

To hear puzzling comment how can someone do art about menstruation and hang the picture on her living room wall is still a comment of this day. We think this issue is somehow settled, women bleed and it is normal part of their physiological and anatomical activity. Women and girls do menstruate monthly and in many countries it is a shameful dirty happening not beautiful or normally acceptable. I was ashamed of menstruating when I was in my teens. It was intolerable and difficult to understand why my body without my consent wanted to do voluntary bleeding from my vagina and that place felt dirty, unspeakable, it hurt like hell for couple of days and my whole body felt achy for nothing. It was like my body bullied me into being something else than what I was used to and comfortable being, boyish. The transformation into woman was something I found difficult to accept because the whole process was agony, scary, out of control and I didn’t see any point of it happening. It happened without my permission showing my insides as I felt turning inside out. To choose to be of one gender and sex would have been an ideal, I thought, because being a woman seemed an endless list of sexualized patterns, rules and ways I didn’t want any part of. To be a woman was to be under authority and rule which seemed and still is tyranny.

To do what is expected of me has shown to be impossible. Expectations are minimizing and denying and prohibiting me to find out what I can do and be. This is not anybody else’s decision but mine. I do what I find satisfying and my goals are set by me.