June 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
I first encountered Magda’s work in 1996, when, as young women, we experimented with self-imaging practices and maintained popular websites – before the internet boom in which social networking and blogging platforms emerged. We both went on to develop our artistic and academic practices in the context of the institutionalized art world, but have continued to share and collaborate. Her ongoing series of work that started in 2005 depicts menstruation. It draws on ideas of transgression, the abject, and boundaries, and it displays a playfulness often missing from discourse around the female body.
Olszanowski’s work was initially a response to the Cartesian history of prioritizing the disembodied self and the established scientific discourse based on intellectual detachment, rationality, and objectivity – leaving the state of corporeality and the body as irrational, uncontrolled, and menstruating. In this misogynist discourse, much extended by Freud, corporeality belongs to the feminine, producing the woman as dangerous and fleshy. Like much feminist work, such as Valerie Solanas’s SCUM Manifesto, Magda’s work welcomes the dangerous and fleshy self. We shared a lengthy conversation across many time zones focused on her history with menstruation, her work, and the importance of leading an embodied practice.