Carolee Schneemann, Interior Scroll – The Cave, 1975-1995
Carolee Schneemann
Interior Scroll – The Cave

In the 1960s, Carolee Schneemann (*1939 †2019, USA), a pioneer of performance art, was associated with both the Fluxus movement and the Judson Dance Theater. Schneemann worked with film, sculptures and performances. Her art was visionary and transcends genre boundaries; it was thus initially met with little sympathy and much criticism from her predominantly male colleagues in the avant-garde art scene (the Fluxus movement soon excommunicated her) and feminist artists alike. Schneemann’s experimental film "Fuses" from 1964-1967 is considered to be the first feminist erotic film. In protest against the Vietnam War, she developed more interactive forms of performances, which her audience could directly influence. The central themes of Schneemann’s work were gender roles, sexuality, war, memory and death.

Interior Scroll is a solo work from 1975 that deals with the artist’s experiences of sexism and exclusion in the art world. The female body, or more precisely the vagina, becomes a site of knowledge in this piece. Carolee Schneemann extracts a carefully rolled scroll from her vagina, unrolls it and proceeds to read from it. The text is part poem, part manifesto and ironically reflects her experiences with male colleagues in the art scene. Interior Scroll – The Cave is a collective re-enactment of the original performance, which was not documented on film.

Courtesy Le Peuple Qui Manque, Paris