Carolee Schneemann: Remains to be Seen

The List / Neil Cooper

4 stars
Torn-up lack and white images of a woman taken almost half a century
ago are laid out on the floor in criss-crossing strips, as multiples of
the woman’s face stare out. This is Carolee Schneeman, performance
artist, avant-provocateur and feminist icon, and she has been ripped to

This altar-like assemblage deconstructs images taken from Schneeman’s
1964 Eye Body series forms a brand new contribution to this scaled-down
retrospective of sorts featuring three recent video installations and a
hitherto unseen set of photographs, Ice Naked Skating, from the same
era. These feature a decidedly un-chilly looking Schneeman skating
while holding her cat.

Used for years as ‘objective observers’ of her work, other cats feature
in 2008’s Infinite Kisses – The Movie, a series of blurred close-ups of
Schneeman and her pets getting affectionate. They’re there again in
Devour, a split-screen montage of stock car crashes, suckling babies
and dead bodies being picked over in war-zones. Precarious is a
multi-channel document of Schneeman’s 2009 commission for Tate
Liverpool that looks at notions of dancing in captivity. No cats, but a
caged cockatoo and a bear on a chain suggest they too, like Schneeman,
are breaking out all over.