2016 brings us a new iteration of 4%ers, a group show at Athen B. Gallery which originated last year at FFDG in San Francisco, this time with a slightly wilder premise. Founded on principals such as exclusion and defiance, this year’s group seeks to express this boldness rather than stifle it internally. More info and images after the click.
Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician who established medicine as a science, originally coined the term hysteria to explain all maladies experienced by women, determining they must necessarily stem from the womb or uterus (hysteria). This was often expressed as a restless, wandering womb, creating disorder within the body and distress in the woman experiencing it. Instead of fitting properly in the dichotomous relation of mind and body, women experienced symptoms of both binary determinations and the “disease” became understood as a nervous disorder, but never became separated from the womb from which it supposedly stemmed. Because of it’s typical diagnosis due to bodily expressions such as gestures, motions, gaits, and non verbal utterances, hysteria is a necessarily physical disease and self-expression (often through the creation of art) alleviates the pain and numbness associated with it’s discomfort. Well, that and a genital massage from her physician, as it was also often attributed to sexual frustration.
Hysterical, right? While women may no longer be diagnosed as a hysteric when they experience any sort of medical symptom, this long-standing medical tradition shaped the way women are supposed to act, look, and express themselves physically, sexually, and artistically. This year, we reclaim the term, relish in the wild fantasies of our artists, and hopefully experience some extreme emotions ourselves.