According to feminist theorist Luce Irigaray, ‘sexual difference is one of the major philosophical issues, if not the issue, of our age.’ The female sex has been misrepresented throughout the canon of Western philosophical thought and culture. Arguably, the reason for this lies in the failings of historical sexual difference, which has only recognised the male phallus and viewed the female sex as no more than the “other”, “lacking” in visible sexual organs. This essay focuses on the video work of Swiss-born artist Pipilotti Rist and theorist Luce Irigaray. Taking a look at the way Rist visualises the female body and the female erogenous zones through an Irigarayian lens, we can establish a positive representation of the female sex and a new rhetoric for female sexuality; that exists outside the restraints of phallocentricism.
Pipilotti Rist’s exhibition Open My Glade is on view at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen until 23.6.2019.
Anna Eaves is a final year BA Fine Art and Art History student at Goldsmiths, University of London.