Anna Perach

Seven Wives

Looking back at Freud’s identified new emotional state exclusive to women, hysteria, the artist wants to explore and question how female emotions and intuition is depicted as a physical defect or internal illness that needs to be cured and controlled

Through her work Anna wants to reclaim the women’s needs and right for space and expression against a history of women’s emotional and sexual repression.

The artist gives life to hand-tufted head masks through a performance inspired by an illustration by Wisnlow Homer made for Charles Perrault’s Tale of Bluebeard (1697). In the tale, a young woman married to an elderly disfigured man, opens a door of which she was given the key to but forbidden the access. In the room she discovers the remains of her husband’s 6 previous dead wives who had previously dared to open the forbidden door, a fate now awaiting her. Homer’s image depicts the heads of seven women hanging by their long hair on a rope.

The artist interprets this image as a forced disconnection of women from their ‘wild, hysterical nature’ by means of violent separation from their bodies. Metaphorically these women no longer have their bodies to perform their anguish and thus they are cured from feeling.

Seven Wives

Materials: Tufted yarn & artificial hair, hemp rope, metal hooks.

Size: Variable

The work is part of the Procreate Project commission 2020 round supported by Arts Council Emergency Response funds.