Limerick, Ireland
Janine Antoni, Coddle, cibachrome print, 55 x 41 cm

Janine Antoni

b. 1964, Bahamas

The first line of Jeanette Winterson’s book Written on the Body reads: ‘Why is the measure of love loss?’ These words express my sentiments in making Coddle, because this image of me holding my leg is as much a pietà as it is a Madonna and Child. My earlier works had dealt with the desire to go outside myself in an effort to experience my body from an exterior vantage point. The act of having a child, for example, enables one to extend oneself, the body, to have what is in the interior make its way to the exterior. In Coddle, however, while I am treating my leg as if it were separate from my body, I am also attempting to bring my furthest extremity back to the centre.

Momme is another attempt to get back to a point of origin. The photograph depicts a woman in a familiar domestic setting. Due to this familiarity, this image may be taken for granted. At first glance, you may not notice that there are actually three feet coming out from under the folds of my mother’s dress. My mother’s generation exemplifies a specific type of femininity, and this photograph is fuelled by my ambivalence about adopting or rejecting that tradition. More than the obvious desire to return to the shelter of my mother, I am hiding behind a traditional image of femininity.

(Text: friends + neighbours catalogue, 2000)

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