Motherhood is Universal

Motherhood is Universal

This is the second text (the first one is here) I'm bringing from the past to the blog. It was a short artist talk for the opening of (s)mother organized by Anna Adler. I wrote this text on May 8, 2021. 

PS. At that time, I was reading all books by Donald Winnicott, trying to reconcile with psychoanalysis as a valid way of thinking. Since then, I've rejected psychoanalysis as a perspective in my work, and I came to understand the concept of "the good enough" mother as undermining and limiting, despite Winnicott's arguably "good" intentions.  

(Find the artworks at the end of the post)*************************************

Hi Anna,

Thank you for organizing this exhibition. I’m honored to be part of this group. So many different things have happened since I had Helena, she is 21 months now, and she really opened many portals in my life. I have two works in the exhibition, both of which relate directly to what I’m learning in this early motherhood time. I like to think that they relate directly to motherhood, but these works bring universal ideas. Because for human beings, motherhood is universal: we all came from mothers! This obvious statement still blows my mind. This is partly what is behind the notion of the “good enough mother” concept by the psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott: the good enough mother is an emphasis on the fact that the mother is a human being -- and not a machine! -- his is a modern preoccupation. He wanted to remind and assure mothers that the oscillations and the cycles, the ups and downs, that is, the successes and the failures, are all necessary parts of caring for a baby. The format of the medal, I thought, was a good one because it brings this notion of recognizing excellence, while the phrase in it, “good enough,” brings the acceptance of inherent failure. In Hijack, which is the title of the painting that has “sex is here” written in it, I am again working with words to navigate all the paradoxes in motherhood. I feel that the word “sex” is one that immediately brings tons of things to us, from sensations in the body to clear images in our thoughts -- and sex is, of course, the most common way to make babies. I started to work with this phrase in my own life after having Helena because I started to search for where else I could experience erotic energy in my life. I found deep resonance in Audre Lorde’s text “Uses of the Erotic,” which is in Adrienne Maree Brown’s book “Pleasure Activism.” In this text, Lorde speaks about the hijacking of sexual energy by pornography and capitalism and expands the notion of the erotic. So both works are part of a larger investigation I have about the relationship between mantras and slogans, and to me, “good enough” and “sex is here” are currently catchy, helpful words in my daily life.



Image of an artwork that is a sports medal with the text "Good Enough" written in it.

Good Enough Medal, Sports Medal, 2 1/5" Diameter, 2021, 8 units


Hijack, Acrylic on cotton, 18 x 14", 2021