Shonagh Adelman

A Space

Some recent lesbian and feminist erotic imagery suggests that the road to libidinal democracy is to create as many objects of desire as possible. By contrast, Shonagh Adelman’s installation Tele Donna, 1994, takes the view that by definition desire cannot be captured in images but must creep around them.

Entering a large, darkened room, the viewer encountered 11 tall, black-lit boxes arranged in a V. Each pictures the figure of a woman from a different era of Western history. This reverse phalanx formation was itself interesting, for the rather intimidating images both confronted the viewer and beckoned her deeper into their company. These images of women were copies many generations removed, via clip art and other ubiquitous sources, from their woodcut or instruction-manual originals. Shorn of detail, they were barely recognizable as women, except for clichéd secondary traits such as high

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