Riding the Red Tide
27/10/2017 — 07/01/2018
Petra Mattheis (*1967) concerns herself with a candid examination of the human body. She seeks every patch and corner of downy body hair, which remain subjects to awkward silence. However, intimacy, pudenda and desire are always with us in a society that distorts surfaces by means of digital editing. While breast nipples, pubic hair and menstruation blood are censored on Instagram, there is no reluctance in propagating beauty trends such as thigh gaps or collar bones. Everything that does not align with the norm of stigmatized sexiness is concealed; intimacy a deviation from the norm.
The project “Riding the Red Tide” is part of the series “Become a Menstruator”, her art project in progress since 2013. It targets at a critical involvement with the body’s monthly menstruation. The scope of Mattheis’ project will be presented in the MdbK for the first time, filling an entire wall with art pieces dedicated to a persisting taboo topic.
The prints from the series “Become a Menstruator” center around the taboo subject of menstruation and our reception of it. Petra Mattheis creates relief prints on cotton paper for each of her fertile years, proportionate to the number of her menstrual cycles every year. These prints depict graphical symbols of the contemporary culture for femininity, fertility, and menstruation.
Mattheis’ “28 days to overcome menstrual taboo” manifestos are relief prints on cotton cardboard, and inspire a critical consideration of the individual response to menstrual blood. Originally written in English, her manifestos have been translated into five other languages (German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Arabic).
Petra Mattheis works in Leipzig. She undertook her studies at Kunsthochschule Mainz and holds the title of master student from Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig.