The Drawers - Heide Hatry   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Heide Hatry

The British show Sensation contained art works that were sensational. The word 'sensation' is described as “a mental process that is due to immediate bodily stimulations as distinguished from perception”. ‘Sensational' is described as often pertaining to the lurid - quick, intense and, sometimes, superficial. When the perception stimulates the sensation and in doing so triggers a mental response, it awakens cognisant connections that further that immediate reaction. Heide Hatry's work with blood, for instance, can be associated with the luridus realms of death and provoke a reaction akin to having witnessed a murder. A shiver runs up the spine, a step is taken away from the spectacle and an expression of awe emitted. It is because there has been 'blood let'. For example, Hatry, dressed in a chic, short white wedding gown, skinned a pig in one of her performances. She ended up covered in blood, the beautiful white garment gradually stained a deeper red over the course of the performance. Awful! - 'awe full', and yet blood is also a traditional element of matrimony. The hymen is broken, the sheets hung out for inspection and until the egg is fertilised, the woman bleeds each month.

Hatry has captured herself on video as she 'lays' an egg. In one instance, she is nude, covered with dirt and the scene is set in nature. This is the 'wild' woman who perceives the event is nearing and quite naturally from her vagina, the lips swelling as they release her bounty - an egg is laid. In the second video we see a smart, seemingly sophisticated woman (the artist) in business attire - although the skirt is very short and the legs very long and bare - carrying a shiny silver laptop. She, too, 'lays' an egg and then ends the dynamic performance dramatically. Much like a movie review, it is better not to tell the ending for it is worth not knowing the ending in order to catch the sensation from the initial viewing of the piece. Once again awe! Hatry has created an art work that causes a reaction in the senses. It is not solely a sexual reaction, although this is not to be ignored for it is titillating to watch a woman push an egg out. It is more than a pornographic response, however. It provokes a sense of wonder at the connection having been made between the idea and the physical enactment of it. It is a mental placement of oneself in relation to the artist - “she did that! Could I?”

Is there that great a difference between standing in front of any phenomenal art piece? An early Bellini, Botticelli's Venus, Picasso's Guernica, Gericault's Raft of the Medusa,a large Jackson Pollock drip painting, Judy Chicago's Dinner Party, all of the phenomenal art works that cause the “wow!' reaction. Are they not all based on a sensation?

Heide Hatry is one of those women who run with the wolves. She expostulates against the prim and brandies a new essentialism, a credo that acknowledges the primal, that celebrates basic instincts and expands the notion of femininity. She does this with her body, and with fit, sexy assurance turns heads at the outset, using her female allure to gain attention. Then she grants a peak at something beyond the pale of the more discretionary set. With video, photography and sculpture coalescing her conceptually avant-garde subject matter, she offers a fresh take on the 'gentler sex'.

Julie Oakes Copyright © 2008 Headbones Gallery

Eggs in the Box-photo, b&w, image 9 x 7.5 inches