I have recently been photographing women who are on the outskirts of the core gender identity because of the way they wear their hair. Hair is very interesting to me because it defines an individual so much. If a woman has shorter, cropped hair they are somehow less of a woman. The few women I have photographed all mentioned that they had been confused for men on several occasions and it is, for the most part, directly connected to the length of their hair. Why is that hair is so deeply connected to the societal and self-identity of women?
[Frida Kahlo. Self Portrait with Cropped Hair. 1940]
I find this painting by Frida Kahlo to be very interesting as well. She painted this right after she divorced Diego Rivera for the first time. In the work she has written the lyric of a Mexican song: "Look, if I loved you it was because of your hair. Now that you are without hair, I don't love you anymore." It shows her estrangement. She is also shedding her gender in this portrait as previously she painted herself in dresses etc.
[Yoko Ono. Cut Piece. 1965]
While not completely related, I find this performance by Yoko Ono to be very interesting. There is something very vulnerable of having something cut off, especially when someone else is doing the cutting.
All of that being said, I think I'm going to do a very intimate performance with just a few other people. I don't want to give too many details because I haven't mapped everything out, but images and a video will come. Women are defined by their beauty and as my research and interaction has led me to believe, a woman's hair is very deeply woven into that.
I have become more and more interested in performance art and using the body as art. Marina Abramovic is incredible at this with allowing the audience to interact with her body, sometimes even violently. In my own work, I'm not interested with having the public interact with me but I am very intrigued by the idea of body as art.
I am also very interested in the idea of body modification as art. Orlan is a premium example of this. Her work, while extreme, really show the core of desire especially during her plastic surgery performances. Please be warned, this video is a graphic depiction of plastic surgery!
While I am not quite on the same trajectory of either of those women, I do find a lot of inspiration in the path that they laid.