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LAURA SPLAN

American, b.1973

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about

"Fan (Anatomy of the Gaze)" is designed after a traditional bridal fan. The embroidery motif is based on the anatomy of the human retina. Rods, cones, and cells populate the radial structure of the hand fan. In the Victorian era, fans and parasols were used to communicate mostly flirtatious messages from women to their suitors. Twirling the fan in the left hand meant “we are being watched” and a fan in the left hand in front of the face meant "I am desirous of your acquaintance." This method of communication presumes a paradigm in which the woman is in a passive position expressing desire and agency through the subtle movements of a fashion accessory. The social function of the fan is one that is dependent upon the male gaze and places him in a position of dominance in which action is left up to him. While the fan and its language have fallen out of fashion, women today have inherited or learned a subtle language of the body that caters to the male gaze. From the length of a skirt to the position of the legs, women often bare the burden of responsibility for their interpretation.

Fried  :  Horn   Sanderson  :  Scott  :  Splan
Fan
Fan (Anatomy of the Gaze), 2008 [detail]
Machine embroidery with thread on cosmetic facial peel, bamboo, mixed media
9”H x 15”W x 1”D