‘Dear Sylvia’, a group photomedia exhibition inspired by life of American poet Sylvia Plath is currently on at the Australian Centre for Photography (ACP) featuring the works of nine female international artists who examine the representation of the female body and the female condition in contemporary society – whether this society is developed, Western world (i.e. France, UK, Australia, Netherlands) or a country such as Romania, Ukraine, Palestine, South America, and Israel where not only female, but human rights in general are under constant and extreme threat.
Through variety of photographic styles and genres, these nine female photomedia artist depict female body as both fragile and suffocated, as well as a powerful and vibrant agent of revolutionary change. In doing so they portray the complexity of Sylvia Plath’s own condition as unconventionally passionate women, a spirit eager to fly high and free in a society where freedom, joy and superfluous love was discouraged, perhaps even ridiculed.
On Thursday 5 February, I spoke to Claire Monneraye, the exhibition’s curator and Marlous van der Sloot, a Dutch photographer whose body of work features in the exhibition and examines the ways photography can be used to restore physicality to our overly rational minds; to encourage return to senses in what could be seen as a “touch starved” society. Marlous images re-establish connection between animal and human creating distortions that prompt us to re-learn to see.
“So we shall walk barefoot on walnut shells
of withered worlds, and stamp out puny hells
and heavens till the spirits squeak
surrender: to build our bed as high as jack’s
bold beanstalk; lie and love till sharp scythe hacks
away our rationed days and weeks.” ~ Sylvia Plath
Artists represented in the exhibition:
Alma Haser (UK)
Dina Litovsky (USA)
Polly Penrose (UK)
Dana Popa (UK)
Julie Rrap (AUS)
Michelle Sank (UK)
Flore-Aël Surun (FR)
Jessica Tremp (AUS)
Marlous van der Sloot (NL)