Beyond the Borders

By: Duygu Serdaroglu  

Karen Finley is a well-known performance artist who is described as a "nude, chocolate-smeared young woman." Violence, use of food and her smearing food to her naked body is the main target of her performances to create strong sexual imagery to criticize the female oppression as well as to highlight such themes as violence, alcoholism, suicide, homelessness, and discrimination. Because of her unconventional art performances, she has been rejected by many organizations and she has been denied funding, however, she never stops to make her voice heard by many people. She breaks the borders of the established image of a woman and she is using her nakedness with the combination of sex and politics to display that politically created role for women and the female oppression. She uses her art to shock people as she herself says “That's what art is about--its shock value.” Thus, the aim of this paper is to analyze how Karen Finley goes beyond the borders with her performance art to criticize the commodification of women as well as the minimalist-ly-drawn image of women in connection with the body politics with references to Kate Millet’s Sexual Politics.

Karen Finley, Performance Art, Female Oppression, Sexual Politics, Female Body
The Arts in Social, Political, and Community Life
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Duygu Serdaroglu

Dr./ Lecturer, English Language and Literature, Atilim University, Turkey

Dr. Duygu Serdaroğlu graduated from the department of American Culture and Literature from Hacettepe University in Ankara. She also studied her master's degree at the same department on American poetry and then she completed her Ph.D at the department of English Language and Literature at Atılım University on Literary Theory and Contemporary English Novel. Her main research interests are Literary Theory, Contemporary Literature, Postmodernism and Gender and Cultral Studies.