While fully shaved genitalia was at one point unusual in the pornographic industry, the tables turned in the early 2000s when “bush [came to be] considered a fetish category, for a niche market of men who were comfortable with seeing ‘mature’ women on camera.“ (goo.gl/L6PwZB). This shift signifies a trend for general feminine grooming, even if women are unaware of the origins of their hairless expectations. Fully shaving (or plucking) ones pubic hair was popular among the nobility at various points throughout history, but shaving and waxing is far more anticipated among the general public today. During Naked State, I want to explore ways for women to reclaim a sense of bodily autonomy. In order to do so, I will create a new pubic hair style for myself each day of the residency, which will be photographed in various pastoral scenes. As a counterpart, an additional project will involve embroidery within a naturist magazine from the 1960’s. This magazine’s strange pubic censorship smoothes away all suggestion of genitalia, perhaps in an effort to desexualize the catalogued figures. The result, ironically, makes these women far more fashion forward than their original editor’s intended.
The amorphous subject of female sexuality is often the starting point of my work. Culminating in pornographic research, my focus always remains rooted in the politics of intimacy. I wonder how pornography effects everyday relationships, what the positive potentials of the medium are, and where erotica intersects with less obvious forms of fetishization. While I work in many mediums, I consider all of my work to be performative in nature. My performance practice turns every-day, passive actions into awkward yet sensual interactions. I implement humour and absurdity – devoid of accusatory confrontation – in order to discuss challenging issues.
Alexandra Bischoff, born in Edmonton, is a Canadian performance and multi-media artist. She holds a BFA in Visual Art from Emily Carr University of Art + Design and was named the valedictorian of the 2015 undergraduate class. Bischoff currently works and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.