My first drawing and Towards new expression (1974)”:
Thanks to “Supressed Histories Archives”, Max Dashu
“I have been said to be, along with other women artists using the body in their work, as an essentialist. According to Luce Irigaray, nature as a primary function has a good chance of becoming culture once again and might be useful as a strategy. I’m quite sure that nature precedes culture as body perception precedes language. This fact may not yet be symbolically represented as culture but should not be underestimated.”
Suzanne Santoro, 2009
“During this period of my research (which preceded and followed publication of Towards New Expression, Rome, Italy 1972-73. I oriented my studies to restoring those characteristics of the female image which had been intentionally hidden or transformed by a whole tradition in the visual arts.
I particularly wanted to study objects at close range: the female sexual organ, a shell, the structure of a flower, all those secondary symbols such as architectural details, drapery in Roman statuary, a sarcophagus or other elements in sculpture and painting where it is still possible to perceive a primordial naturalness of female symbols which have gradually become covered up in western art.
I am also aware of those elements in the human figure which present both female and male characteristics. This kind of dualism is present in the tradition of the visual arts and attracted me as other ambiguous phenomena that the artist could not reveal directly. I try to uncover a structure of a form in the hidden message which is not immediately apparent.
I like to veil the exactitude of details and leave only an indeterminate halo. At other times the meaning is more than clear…”
Suzanne Santoro 1976
Women Painters in Rome and Pompei
Hydria, attic red-figure, 470-260 a. C.
“I invisioned Cassandra as a very significant figure for our times (...). I was interested in getting to the crucial point as to the beginning of our culture when the alienation before us had begun. This alienation that has now brought us so near to self destruction. I was interested in that precise moment with the event of patriarchal and hierarchical society when women's literary expression had disappeared for millenium".
Christa Wolf "Cassandra" 1984
Triskell: feminine symbol of Neolithic origin, Celtic, Indoeuropean, and Pagan. It beomes the "fish" of Christianity. My Irish great grandfather drew this for me when I was 4. How archaic symbols become transformed: purity-danger-taboo.
Suzanne Santoro 2013
© Copyright Suzanne Santoro 2017. All rights reserved
Literary expression was not the only thing to be distroyed. Women's creative and artistic expression disappear and marks the beginning of the disruption of relationships with men, the other, and everthing else! To survive through all this women need to protect their own differences. Always acquiescing to others thinking annihilates our own point of view and leads to a normalized identity and the annhiliation of the self.
Suzanne Santoro 2011