Sophia Wallace Tells Us The Truth About The Clitoris
Artist Sophia Wallace discusses CLITERACY her epic, mixed media project which explores a paradox; the global obsession with sexualizing female bodies in a world that is illiterate when it comes to female sexuality. See the latest on CLITERACY here http://sophiawallace.tumblr.com/ Available Art: http://collect.sophiawallace.com About: http://www.sophiawallace.com/
The “100 Natural Laws of Cliteracy”
Spanning 10 feet by 13 feet, with a 6-foot neon “Cliteracy” sign suspended from the ceiling, Wallace’s “100 Natural Laws” installation is, as she describes it, “monumental in scope and scale.”
“I wanted to create something so big that it would make everyone, including a football player or basketball player, feel small next to it,” she said. “You can’t just glance at it and expect to have gotten it. You have to spend time with it and think about it.”
In an interview with Creem Mag (http://creemmag.com/cliteracy-2/)
What was the concept behind your concept?
On it’s face, CLITERACY 100 Natural Laws may appear to be focused on sexual pleasure. In fact, the target of the work is much broader. CLITERACY explores the effect when one’s body is constructed primarily to benefit a more powerful group through denying its autonomy and anatomy, vilifying its pleasure and controlling its reproduction. Using large scale, minimalist text as form, CLITERACY de-naturalizes the way that the female body is constituted within an economy of lack.
The methods used to control female bodies share some characteristics with other forms of domination. Philosophers, scientists, ethnographers and religious leaders have also legitimized the enslavement and colonization of people by white Europeans. Indeed literacy itself was outlawed for many enslaved subjects. The use of the word literacy was therefore extremely important which I then combined the word clitoris in response to the widespread disregard of the clitoris psychoanalysis, architecture, visual culture and education.
It is curious to observe the paradox that on the one hand, the female body is the primary metaphor for sexuality. Its use saturates advertising, art and mainstream erotic imagery. Yet, the clitoris, the true female sexual organ – is virtually invisible. The discovery of the true scale and complexity of the clitoris is only 15 years old and still has not reached most people. One wonders, how is it possible that something seemingly so known, is still unknown? CLITERACY takes aim at the hubris of this phallic logic and goes further exploring the production of knowledge itself. The project questions political legitimacy in the denial of the embodiment of half of the population.
Up until 1998 could be described as a pre-clitoris world. Is there a post clitoris world?
Is there a post penis world? Ideally everyone’s genitals can be respected. What would it look like if sex was not thought of in terms of a phallus and a lack, but rather two embodied wholes that engage each other for mutual pleasure? What would sex look like if it wasn’t about destruction of a receptive body? What would sex look like if pleasure, not a specific act, was the guiding principle?