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Elizabeth Manchester

Published date
23 May 2019

From the inside out: models of vision from the vagina

College: Chelsea College of Arts
Supervisors: Professor Oriana Baddeley, Rebecca Fortnum


In 1946 Marcel Duchamp began casting the body of his lover, the Brazilian sculptress and notorious femme fatale Maria Martins, for the creation of his enigmatic last work Étant donnés (1946-66).

Focusing on the spread legs of a headless female body made of stretched and painted parchment, Étant donnés presents a hairless and labia-less vagina that is strangely misshapen and deformed. My practice-led research examines this work and its satellite erotic objects, as part of a wider investigation into notions of deformity and abjection associated with representations of the vagina in twentieth century art.