Invisible bodies: Mary Kelly's Interim

Summer 1987

Taken from a 1986 panel discussion at Kettle’s Yard Art Gallery in Cambridge, which marked an exhibition of Mary Kelly’s work Corpus, part one of four in her Interim project investigating middle age for women, these three contributions discuss the work in relation to Kelly’s previous piece Post-Partum Document (about motherhood) and various psychoanalytic and cultural theories. Also included are many photographs of the artworks discussed. Kelly herself describes the background to the work and the inspiration she found in feminist writings, psychoanalysis (both Freudian and Lacanian), the photographs of hysterics taken by Charcot (whose terminology she borrows in the artwork), the work of Foucault and postmodernism. Cowie compares the work to Kelly’s previous Post-Partum Document, and provides a reading of it through the writings of Freud and Lacan, looking at ideas of identification and fetishism, as well as discussing Kelly’s use of Eisensteinian montage. Bryson considers the preparation normally required before we are able to adequately view an art image, and argues that Kelly draws this preparatory experience into her artworks themselves, as well as discussing her treatment of narrative and story forms.

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