The Baby Blues © memymom
Upcoming solo exhibition The Baby Blues at De Schipperskapel (Komvest 38, 8000 Bruges) / Opening Friday 5 September 7pm and on view till 28 September 2014.
To expose ‘The Umbilical Vein’ to the world was intense. To seek out intimacy in a public context, with resonance from different directions, expectations, and so on, … It had all the complications of a difficult birth. A sense of draining and emptiness followed. Was the (art)world too demanding, or Memymom itself? ‘The Baby Blues’ takes that pressure and channels, molds it. The post-natal depression is put into perspective, surpassed, and ultimately, personal freedom is rekindled.
The flower-printed fabric of the brand Liberty literally becomes the leitmotif, constituting both the pregnancy clothing and the straitjacket for doll and child. The straitjacket, a theme that just like the handmade clothing has been featured in their work before, refers to a multitude of external expectations that flush us through advertisements, media and fashion, but also reminds us of being stuck in conventions, patterns, or in the artistic language of Memymom itself.
This game of ambiguity and contradiction is always found in their work: after a pregnancy and the bleeding that inevitably comes with it, doll and child are bound. But the reigns are not pulled tight, and in the pietà-photo the dolls’ arms are free. The fabric that looks like it once served as the cuddle- and comfort blanket of the daughter – reminding us of its’ warmth and consolation – on the other hand keeps the connection to the inner child alive.
And things move around. Visually there is the jump from analogue to digital – and the exploration of the possibilities and restrictions, or pitfalls, of this. Also less is staged, the images stare you in the face more directly. It is not a re-birth, but a through-birth. From fetal position to pietà: the roles evolve. The daughter now holds a pregnant belly and clearly takes her position. With the unfolding and subsequent grasping and managing of life, the outlook changes.
This work was clearly created in tandem: it remains a tongue-in-cheek exploration of an intense bond between two people in which the mother-daughter relationship is transcended and both seriousness and playfulness prevail.