The Real Housewife Artist del Corona
“The Real Housewife Artist del Corona” – staged photography, S10+, 2020
Description: The photo-project is a cynical artistic approach of the #stayathome orders and #socialdistancing enforcement, in light of the Coronavirus outbreak! Also, is questioning the status of a woman artist in this novel existence of “social distancing” era and it refers to the quarantine life which now she’s living. In a new environment, with restrictions imposed by the governments in order to protect our health security, the household space becomes the only safe and secure environment of manifestation.
The everyday life is transformed and reduced to the household chores, but in the same time the artistic personality transpires in any activity. She is feeling imprisoned, dissatisfied, desperate, buy yet the art creates a parallel universe in which she can enliven. Just like a perfect house wife, back in the 50’s, submitted to her husband and devoted to the household activities, but looking glamorous and fresh-looking.
Historical references: In 1950 the status of the housewife was the image of the perfect woman, with an idyllic picture of what the perfect stay-at-home woman should look like, rooted in the popular culture, with guides to follow and social restrictions. After the WWII, the governments aimed to reestablish the two statuses of women: mother and wife, as the primary occupation, and actually encouraged them to these roles. The media embarked on discouraging women from pursuing careers and laid emphasis on the woman’s domesticity and dependence, and encouraged women to return to their noble duties in the kitchen and nursery. Furthermore, television and radio aired women’s programs that were dogmatic, and aimed at reinforcing the woman as a successful housewife. The women had no career goals, and their aspirations were limited to being married and raising a family. The ideal wife was expected to be restricted at home, and to nurture her family to gain respect from the society. A hard-working wife had the dinner ready by the time her career husband returned home from work, and a wife was only a valuable and respectable if she obeyed her husband, carried out his orders, and agreed with the husband without question. More than that, the society had massive expectations on women’s’ behavior both at home and in public. Women had certain roles and the society expected them to fulfill the roles without failure. A woman was expected to be an industrious homemaker, and an obedient and caring wife to her husband and family. These standards were imposed by domestic manuals, women's magazines and a flourishing advertising industry, and enforced by friends, neighbors and husbands.
So in the 50’s you were considered a bad housewife if you did not comply with the above list.
The artistic concept of creating this parallel with the image of the 50”s “perfect housewife” whose duties are performed around the domestic space and the modern Artist who is socially distanced by her world and restricted at home due to the Coronavirus, integrates perfectly the feeling of being trapped, isolated, obliged to comply to the new rules of the society.
So, if the traditional wisdom dictated that the responsibility of women was to be restricted at home, the modern one seems to be quite familiar? On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization called the COVID-19 viral disease a pandemic, and the populations around the world were sheltered in place. We are talking about limits, guidance and curfews that were imposed on the population. And by this time, we are still complying with them!
The photos are carrying a powerful message about the women artist who are struggling into the art world, leveraging their desires in the modern society, yet having to deal with everyday life households hacks in their domestic space.