When I read Mia Hull’s review of Red Pig Flower, a performance artist who has recently been exhibiting in London, I was struck by the use of magic potions in her work. To me, this is suggestive of a wise woman, a position that occurs across many cultures and represents a difficult balancing act. On the one hand, women in these positions often wield an unusual amount of power, insofar as they are trusted advisors and can pursue education. On the other hand, they are vulnerable to the suspicions of others – their work in areas that are unfamiliar and therefore mystical to onlookers leads to their scapegoating, as suggested by the phrase “witch hunt”. I think magic is definitely a gendered sphere and it’s interesting to see how Red Pig Flower engages with this.
Mia explores the use and representation of the magic potions further in her review:
Red tells me a little of her past and explains that she used to work as a fortune-teller in Tokyo. “People bought my time and my services. A lot of them would tell me their secrets during the fortune telling session, too, as if they had purchased me as a confident or friend.” This unusual background informs Red’s artwork greatly. Rather than looking at the objectification of women in a sexualised way, as many artists do, Red focuses on the objectification and purchase of something equally as precious as her sexuality: her time and her imagination.