There's a delicate vulnerability about being a woman that artist Zoë Buckman has articulated perfectly with her "Every Curve" series, embroidering vintage lingerie with Biggie and Tupac lyrics. The dichotomy between the diaphanous fabrics and the aggressive rap prose is startling, and quite frankly, brought a tear to my eye this morning. The fading transparency of the garments speaks volumes about the way a misogynist pop culture perspective reduces women and reclaims them with its own definitions and labels, the most glaring being the word bitch, evident over and over again in these particular lyrics.
The project is described on Buckman's site as being preoccupied with:
“explor[ing] the both contradictory and complementary influences of Feminism and Hip-hop in her upbringing... unit[ing] the apparent contradictions between 'the masculine' and 'the feminine' in contemporary culture. The installation of these hanging garments illustrates the oppositional perceptions of woman as sexual object, woman as love, and woman as creator; perceptions which, with recourse to history, remain unchanged.”
For any woman who has ever felt victimized or swaddled by a man's treatment of her, "Every Curve" will resonate. There's a small space which women inhabit in rap, and it exists either in the realm of vitriolic violence or angelic reverence. There's no autonomy for women in the male dominated world of hip-hop, and Buckman's projects holds up the bare bones of womanhood, our hidden, most fragile inner skin, and tattoos it with the oppression of what are widely regarded as legendary rap poetics.
Images: Zoë Buckman(6)