Antonietta

Antonietta

Thermal transfer screen print on aluminium
4 panels each measuring 42cm x 35cm
Overall dimension: 1800cm x 41cm (framed)
Edition of 10

In the sixteenth century a girl called Antonietta Gonzales exhibited the symptoms of congenital hypertrichosis lanuginosa: much of her body, including her face, was covered with hair. She was part of the court of Marie de Medici and was painted by Lavinia Fontana. While she was educated and cared for at the court, she and other individuals with this medical condition were often associated with animals, mythical beasts and monsters, Antonietta being equated in various accounts to a monkey or dog. Nowadays any visible body hair on a woman is considered socially unacceptable. Hairiness or hirsutism is seen as a medical problem that is addressed by hormonal as well as cosmetic treatments. Issues surrounding control of our body, our image, our profile are all expected to fit a certain pattern. Once we overstep that line we are seen to be inviting comment, ridicule and even violence.

 

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