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Feminist Art Topics
Artworks on 30 Topics

30. Memorials/Monuments

29. Questioning Nationalism

28. Relationships/Between You and Me

27. Confronting Racism

26. War/Conflict

25. Migration

24. Maps, Borders and Cultural geography

23. Land/Landscape

22. Ecology/Ecofeminism

21. Rooms

20. A House

19. Rape/Violence against women

18. Images of/about women from history

17. Women at Work

16. Cleaning/Maintenance Work

15. Food/Cooking

14. Artists' Parents/Grandparents

13. Marriage/Weddings

12. Masquerade/Mask

11. Mannequin/Puppet/Automaton/Cyborg

10. A/The Dress

9. Nude/Naked

8. Ecstatic Bodies

7. Old Age

6. Motherhood/Mothers/Child-rearing

5. Conception/Pregnancy/Childbirth

4. Menstruation/Abortion

3. Girls

2. Images of the phallus

1. Core imagery, vaginas and vulvas

Artworks by women artists on 30 topics
related to Feminism and Contemporary Art

Introduction

About this topic: Conception/Pregnancy/Childbirth

Conception and pregnancy seen from a woman's point of view is the subject of these works. Women's potential redundancy in this biological process is contrasted with women's centrality in pregnancy and birth currently. Women's emancipation in terms of their choice to have a child is contrasted with women's entombment and confinement to this role. Desire and hope in conception, celebration of a forthcoming birth and its difficulties, beauty and ugliness are some of the strong contrasts in these representations. The shape of the female body in pregnancy stands as an icon or becomes a landscape, is mimicked by men. The medicalisation of birth, the exploitation of women's reproductive capacity in IVF egg-farming or the dangers of late or backstreet abortions are considered. These works raise repeatedly a key feminist concern: women's autonomy in deciding whether, when or how to give birth.

  1. Mitsuko Tabe (Japan) Jinkō Taiban / Artificial placenta (1961) sculpture/object, mannequin, ping pong balls, cotton wool, cloth, vacuum tubes, nails, electrical cords, tar, recreated in 2004     Kumamoto Museum of Contemporary Art 


  2. Alice Neel (USA) Pregnant Maria (1964) oil on canvas     Private Collection 


  3. Monica Sjoo (Sweden) God Giving Birth (1968) oil on hardboard painting 183 x 122 cm    Museum Anna Nordlander, Sweden 


  4. Ferdi Tajiri-Jansen (The Netherlands) Wombtomb (1968) artificial fur, metal, foam rubber 130 x 225 x 70 cm  Rijksmuseum  


  5. Kirsten Justesen (Denmark) OMSTÆNDIGHEDER (1969) 4 x glasfiberarmeret epoxy torso med indstøbte tryksager, slægtsfoto, fotokopier, plastblomster, gaze, skind i størrelse 1:1.      


  6. Miana-Miriam Munsky (Germany) Emancipation (1970) oil on canvas 110 x 140 cm     


  7. Susan Hiller (UK) Ten Months (1977 - 1979) black and white photography and text total area, 163 x 564cm    Arts Council Collection, GB 


  8. Frans Beelen (The Netherlands) Cyclus (1977) series of 7 terracotta pieces, showing cycle of conception, birth, growth of children in relation to mother's torso 50 x 100 cm     


  9. Monica Englund (Sweden) En Fodelse (1979) photo series about pregnancy, birth     Moderna Museet 


  10. Judy Chicago (USA) Birth Project (1982 - 1985) 30 foot long drawings, plus tapestries, smocking, embroidery, prints in later parts of the project      


  11. Shelagh Keeley (Canada) Writing on the Body (1988) lithographic crayon, pastel, chalk, oil stick, pigment, wax, book pages, photocopies, gauze, and plaster on wood panels 349.5 x 180.4 x 4.6 cm each  National Gallery of Canada  


  12. Lutz Bacher (USA) Huge Uterus (1989) video tape of operation to remove tumours 6 hours     


  13. Nell Tenhaaf (Canada) In Vitro (the perfect wound) (1990) 4 fluorescent lightboxes with 24 colour transparencies (Duratrans), plexiglas 153.8 x 125.8 x 20.2 cm  National Gallery of Canada  


  14. Sue Williams (USA) Big Fucking Deal (1991) acrylic paint, paper, collage on canvas 122.5 x 107 cm    Collection Goetz 


  15. Kathy High (USA) Underexposed: Temple of the Fetus (1993) video 60 min    Video Data Bank, Chicago 


  16. Alicja Zebrowska (Poland) Original sin - the presumed virtual reality project (1994) video installation, photography      


  17. Anita Gratzer (Austria) Timeless (1997) installation      


  18. Ilona Nemeth (Hungary) Private Gynaecological Chairs, I, II, III (1997) gynaecological chairs covered in velvet, moss and rabbit skin       see exhibition Cross Female (Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin)


  19. Emily Kasahara (Japan) Pink (1997 - 2004) nine large-scale photos of women's cervixes, tinted in pink - later extended to 24 with text in artist's book      


  20. Paula Rego (UK, Portugal) Untitled 1-8 (The Abortion series) (1999) aquatint prints on paper 38 x 48 cm    Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal 


  21. Suheir Isma'il Farraj (Palestine) Arab Diaries: Birth (1999) video 56 min     


  22. Natalya Turnova (Russia) Why are You Crying? (2000) acrylic paintings      


  23. Deirdre DeFranceaux and Jan Nunn (USA) The Cradle (2001) installation, steel, fiberglass, fabric, lightwire      


  24.  SubRosa (USA) The Economies of ART (2001) artist's pages (pamphlet from larger project)      


  25. Hiroko Okada (Japan) Future Plan #2 (2003) photo      


  26.  Womanifesto (Thailand) Procreation/Postcreation (2003) artist's book from international exchange programme      


  27. Cathy Wilkes (UK) She's Pregnant Again (2005) installation, mixed media /readymades     Arts Council Collection, GB 


  28. Xiao Lu (China) Sperm  (2006) performance/installation, Kangda Hotel, Yan’an, China      


  29. Maru Ituarte (Germany) Reproduction (2007) video, PAL, color, sound      


  30. Jalkhaajav Munkhtsetseg (Mongolia) Silence Series (2009) collage, painting on paper, about miscarriage      


  31. Mujeres Publicas (Argentina) Afiche-Escudo/Poster-shield (2009) poster/leaflets in campaign against backstreet abortions in Argentina      


  32. Marni Kotak (USA) The Birth of Baby X (2011) performance, giving birth to her first child, Microscope Gallery