Your body is a battleground

Barbara Kruger is an artist, which has passed the way from media design to artistic problem photography. Of course, time, spending in media and fashion-industry, had an influence on her. In her works she is thinking about relationships between woman and patriarchal system and criticizes consumer society. Problem of power and gender becomes the key one for her, and in 1980s Kruger’s works became a yardstick for feminists, which needed overtly politicized art. Kruger and other feminist artists were researching, how representation influences on woman, in their early works. In 1980s it was an answer to the need of the artistic society in the rejection of traditional cultural phallic space.

From 1970s Kruger has became popular and demanded. She was looking for her own style and founded it in collage-technique of her own and adopted photos and accompanying ironic texts. Her art is talking political not only about the politic, but also about current actual social situation, commercialization of human relations and human consciousness and growing consumerism.

Media design experience also influenced the aesthetics of her works, most of which consists of three colors: white, black and red. Red is used as the background for text. Combination of three colors and their not a numerous shades makes works minimalistic and adjusted. This gives them the conciseness and simplicity, but at the same time they are accurate epitome of contemporary advertising and media aesthetics. These techniques certainly are intended to draw the viewer’s eye and hold it.

But Barbara Kruger’s works require some effort and reflection from the viewer. For the understanding of the irony and the concept, you need to be at least included in the actual context. Furthermore the viewer must be ready to peer into her work, review and reflect on his personal opinion on the concerned issues. In her early works the most actual theme was the theme of manpower and its influence on the woman, her body, freedom and views. Kruger connected it with the problems of consumerism as an environment that initiates the struggle for power and control, so in her works she embodies the call to address to the issue of gender.

This is also about her work Your body is a battleground. It is really individualized illustration of Kruger’s own opinion, it is her own protest against the infringement of women’s rights, control, the impact of patriarchy, stereotyping and the growing consumption. This work is a response in support of the women’s rights in situation of birth control and a ban on adoption. The phrase can be perceive metaphorical and absolutely literally: it is an impossible situation, when women body’s destiny is in the hands of strangers, in the hands of the authorities, and when this “body” does not have the slightest right to vote. Besides the body becomes a battlefield in conditions of developing beauty- and fashion-industry. Women are increasingly forced to compromise with the social stereotypes and look as an advertising tabloids and ratings told to.

Kruger placed the woman in an unusual for that time position: she looks directly at the viewer, openly and shamelessly. It was forbidden for a long time and even now, though not often, we can hear condemning replicas from the oldest generation, especially from its religious part. The work visually embodies the image of woman who adheres to all assigned aesthetic standards, but in which fire of controversy and desire to fight for herself are burning. Two halves: black and white, humble and belligerent, angelic and devilish. Two faces which any person combines, but to which the patriarchal system and the opponents of women’s freedom and independence did not reflect.

Men always controlled the world and women obeyed them. Men tend to dominate, and women just need to control their life and body. It is typically feminist issues, which was often beaten in art, but Barbara Kruger was at the origin of the modern feminist photography. Her works still find an effort in us. Laconic graphically images with intensive phrases inspire not only the one generation of artists. There are many replicas to her works. Often they are not so good, sometimes it is still the same actual. Today, when we again and again face the problem of infringement of the women’s rights and men’s desire to dominate and conquer, even thirty-years old Kruger’s collages are acutely relevant.

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monamatveeva

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