Monash University

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Performance art: the abject and the political

posted on 2017-02-16, 03:56 authored by Clifford, Gina
This practice-based research project addresses questions relating to female embodiment, patriarchal structures and the way capitalism creates marginalised subjects. As an important element of the research I have focused on performance art that centers on both the abject and the political as their subject matter. The abject can be described as that which disturbs the boundary between nature and society, disrupting paternal law and the border between the interior and exterior of the body. Objects and actions that can be described as abject are exclusionary because of their confrontational nature and emphasis on a state in which the psyche disturbs civil society and identity. The abject can therefore be seen in a political sense, with those that are marginalised such as women, the poor and exprisoners, inhabiting a space of abjection. I am interested in this subject matter because I feel that it is important to look at the way that our society demarcates and excludes based on gender, race and class. I am also interested in the way that feminism can inform an ideological position in my art practice and its relationship to the abject. Looking historically to the way that abject and bodily substances have been used in art, as well as to the political performance art of the 1960s and 70s, I have created three performances that address societal attitudes to consumerism, desire and the female body.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Matthew Perkins

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Fine Art


Master of Fine Art

Degree Type



Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture

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