Beatrice Colin previews the season of female trouble at the CCA.
hen Bella got tired of obscene phone calls from her neighbour.
she broke into his flat and smashed in his head with a hammer. The book and
subsequent film/)irrv Weekend documented the movements of the ultimate bad girl. a vicious killer wielding revenge on men. ‘Feminine behaviour is rooted in fear of offending the male. bruising his ego and arousing him to violence.’ wrote Helen Zahavi. ‘I want to reverse that situation.’
Bad girls taking the law into their own hands
men. The gentler sex have been victims for so long that their tactics now are of guerilla warfare and they aim to shock. provoke and even castrate. Whether these girls are bad. mad or plain sad is beside the point. They signal the new confidence among women. The final words of Madonna’s book of porn for women. Sex. are. - ‘a lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don‘t get what they want.’
The CCA’s Bad Girls season is a platform for l women to say what they want without recourse
18 The List 28 January— | () l'ehruary I994
send shudders of horror down the spines of
to drastic measures. It encompasses visual art. performance. video. music. new writing and
discussions. ‘We‘re saying this is a season of female trouble.‘ points out Nicola White. one of
the curators of the exhibition. ‘If that‘s trouble within feminism itself or trouble in-your-face aggressive art from women. or it‘s old stereotypes breaking down. I wouldn't like to say. I think this season will uncover things which are very interesting in work made by women. but it‘s not an attempt to push everything the same way.‘
The exhibition part of Bad Girls was first seen last year at the ICA in London and attracted a record number of viewers. They came in droves to see the work of three American. two British and one lrish artist. all with very different approaches. Sexuality. pleasure. aggression. gender and vulnerability are conveyed in uncompromising two and three-dimensional work.
Helen Chadwick‘s fetishistic use of fur. human hair. bronze and photographic images evokes a contradictory response. In one piece. blonde hair is interwoven with a sow‘s intestine
Above: Nicole Eisenman’s Captured Pirates on the Island at Lesbos
to create a work which is repulsive and yet attractive. taboo but sensual. With huge murals.
Nicole Eisenman is not afraid of tackling
people‘s worst prejudices of gay female artists as her mimicry of portraying scenes of castration and lesbian domination. And Sue William’s
confrontational. furious paintings look at abuse
and power with a chilling frankness.
Elsewhere Nan Goldin’s photographs offer a peep into the artist‘s own private world with pictures of her friends and lovers which form an unconventional family. Cataloguing a life lived. these works are filled with suffering and a sense of loss. ‘To photograph someone is to caress them.‘ she says. ‘I used to photograph to stave off loss. But with the deaths of so many of my friends. I‘ve realised the limits of what can be preserved.’
Rachel Evans looks at relationships with pencil drawings of teenage-comic style love scenes; couples stand smiling in pastoral idylls and casually playing out the clichéd game of love. With these seemingly perfect images she
underpins the irony of women’s fantasies aria