“Trained to see ourselves as objects and to position ourselves as the Other /.../ we have a story which by definition cannot be self-present for us, a story which, in other words, is not a story but must become a story.
And it cannot become a story except through the bond of reading, that is, through the story of the Other (the story read by other women, story of other women, the story of women, told by others), insofar this story of the Other, as our own autobiography, has as yet precisely to be owned”.1 (Felman, S. 1994. What does woman want? Reading and sexual difference. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, p. 14. )
“The biography of each woman begins in a mothers’ body” is one of the statements made by Gabi Reinhardt in her performance, hybrid between - as in self-reflexive moment the artist expresses – “research, art and fucking therapy” entitled O shit I have become my mother! In the performance Reinhardt alternately expresses statements of interviewed mothers and daughters from Maribor, blending them with her own experience of relationship with her mother, and centres it around the abstract entity, that should fundamentally determinate it – motherly love.
Through series of simple and everyday factors about maternal role, the position of the mother in the family everyday life, mother-daughter relation in connection to relationship towards body and sexuality, that are systematically followed by artists’ activity with some kind of markers of motherly love in the shape of soft, fluffy white pillows, movement of the body around the place, its entangling in illustrative situations and recurring activities, artist reveals complexity of a social role through the subjective focus.
The reproductive social role which primarily functions and exists as its own constant construction and reproduction. In these connections the basic ambivalence of maternal love is exposed – it seems based more on a debt economy, than on gift economy; the more it gives (raises, nourishes, protects and takes care of) the more it overbears the object of its generosity (materializing the inherited patterns in the body – and the self of her own daughter).
Text: Kaja Kraner