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Myth

Catherine Elwes
1983
10mins Colour Video Tape and Installation

Myth

The conventional image of a mother suckling her child is deliberately frustrated, the breast is seen in close up and the baby does not actually feed.

There is no possibility of sentimentalising this scene, but the reality of the physical bond is established. The breast image is echoed in a passage where a woman sucks her thumb, intercut with a woman's mouth opening and shutting against a soundtrack of teeth snapping shut, perhaps an ironic metaphor for the castration fear expressed in the myth...this work contains a strong critique of conventional notions of mother-child relations. Elwes identifies an active physical love or desire quite unlike conventional notions of the mother's self-abnegation in her relationship with her child. Pleasure, Elwes suggests, may be the seat of women's power and men's traditional fear of it.
Catherine Kinley, 'The Elusive Sign'.

Installation shown in Cross-Currents RCA Galleries and touring. Footage used in 'There Is a Myth' (1984)

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