My name is Adam Dexter and I am an artist from Charleston, SC. I am a writer, filmmaker, and a painter. I am currently trying to mount an art installation piece called An Exhibition on the Art of Death and Torture, which examines images of female bodily torture throughout history.
Images of raped, tortured, brutalized, and terrorized women occupy a very prevalent part of history. Women's bodies, and the space they occupy, have been used for centuries to assert male dominance. The recent public execution of an Afghan woman is not a new story: it is sadly one instance in a very long tale of female bodily torture.
This torture is clearly meant to dehumanize the woman, destroy her subjecthood and render her powerless, all the while asserting masculine dominance over it. This exhibition will examine, through film, photography and painting, four instances of public torture and execution of women throughout history: public executions of Afghan women, the public rape and execution of Muslim women during the Bosnian War, the witchcraft trials of the 17th century and the head-shavings during WWII. All of these performances reverberate with issues of power, feminine sexuality, gendercide and religious ideology. For French philosopher Michel Foucault, the act of torture -- even more so than execution -- was the way that power was inscribed on a very public space: the body. Foucault wrote, "[Torture] made the body of the condemned the place where the vengeance of the sovereign was applied, the anchoring point for a manifestation of power, an opportunity of affirming the dissymmetry of forces."
Following this thought, and following Dr. Debra Bergoffen's recent work on raped women, this exhibition examines several questions: Is violence against women is in itself a performance art? Is it another way that man destroys the woman -- "the devourer" -- in order to assert his power? How does the torture inscribe the body of the woman?
This provocative exhibition empowers both men and women through a confrontation with the horrific history of violence against women.
I am trying to raise as much money as I can. Please help in any way you can. SC Governor Nikki Haley recently voted to cut SC Arts Funding.