Mädchenkram – erotische Handarbeit
For the exhibition Mädchenkram (girls stuff) at Kunstverein Leverkusen, I used the theme erotic crafts as a starting point to explore headdresses and different materials as symbols of fertility. Curator Verena Loewenhaupt combined my real flower and plants installations with the plant-like forms made by Andrea Pritschow.
This series of headdresses reflect on expressions of the mother goddess cult. This cult refers to various feminine deities and maternal symbols of creativity, birth, fertility, nurturing, and the cycle of growth. Traditional tribal decorations, especially the wearing of head ornaments, were an important inspiration for this series. (for example Hans Silversters’ Natural Fashion: Tribal Decoration from Africa)
Isis was the symbol of fertility in Greek mythology. She was closely connected with the Nile, which irrigated the land and made it fertile according to the annual cycle of the land. In the myth of Isis and Ra, When Isis’ brother, Horus and son, Seth were in a fight, she tries to safe her brother when her son accidentally cuts off her head. It was then luckily replaced by the head of a cow – the cow being a symbol of love. Within the mythology, the solar disk was also one of the symbols of fertility.
Aphrodite, according to Greek myth, was born from the foam of the sea. In Roman mythology her name is Venus, but the Aprhodite cult descended from the Phoenician (today this is Lebanon and Syria) goddess Asartre. Aphrodite was the goddess of love, lust, beauty and passion. The swan was traditionally known as her favorite, as the swan faced beauty, poetry and music. In Greek and Roman symbolism the lemon was the symbol for love and reliability. The lemon was therefore often used as decoration in the bridal chamber.
Aruru was the Babylonian earth goddess, mother goddess, or uterus. Aruru is known as the goddess who made the first man from clay. She broke off a bit of clay, spit on it, and so emerged Eabani.
Baubo comes originally from Asia Minor (nowadays part of Turkey). She is associated with joy, singing, dancing, uninhibited sexuality, and fertility. Often she is pictured without her torso, with her legs attached directly to her head. Baubo is mentioned as the one that made Demeter laugh when she had retreated into a cave, making it so that the earth withered and lost all fertility. Demeter’s laughter brought the earth back to life. Baubo is an old woman who lifts her skirt to show her vagina and thus breaks the power of the underworld and Hades.
Freya is a northern-European goddess of fertility, love and lust. She was beautiful, but also a powerful battle goddess. Cats were a known attribute of the goddess, as they were a symbol of magic. In Christianity these cats where evil forces attributed. Women who followed the traditions of this goddess were associated with black magic.
photos made by Alfred Jansen
Review in Missy magazine and 2 newspapers about Mädchenkram – erotische Handarbeit