Dancing space
Prophecy to Sun Woman I
in Killing Men & Dying Women
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Returning to Lee Krasner’s battle with Prophecy and its masculinist ghosts – Picasso, Pollock, de Kooning – as well as to the Irigarayan metaphor of dancing space, Pollock discovers jouissance both in Krasner’s working through of the challenge and in terms of a freedom made possible by the emergence of a dancing space in her gestural abstraction, a rhythm in the gestures, a different kind of evocation of and being with a clearly feminine corporeality. The battle between Killing (as creativity, Bataille) and Dying (as psychic condition occasioned by real loss and mourning) is displaced by a third theoretical engagement with the contrasting theorizations of sexual difference by Julia Kristeva and Bracha L. Ettinger. Reviewing the trajectory of Lee Krasner’s painting practice in both personal and historical terms, Pollock considers her struggle with the knowledge of the racialized genocide of the Jewish communities of Europe explored by Robert Hobbs as her ‘crisis of witnessing’. She reviews Krasner’s long creative practice according to Bataille’s thesis on hybridity and decomposition in modernism. Through several psychoanalytical theories of the subject and the discourse of sexual difference in popular culture, Pollock moves from ‘Marilyn’ to ‘Jackson’ and back, opening up a space in which to read the paintings of ‘Lee’ as ‘female creation’ (Kristeva) that was ecstatic, funny, intellectually intense, artistically acute and creatively violent at times, thus revealing the semiotic possibilities and historical conditions of a relation between creativity and femininity that did not involve massacre but continual openness to radical aesthetic exploration.

Killing Men & Dying Women

Imagining difference in 1950s New York painting


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