Rethinking the private hypothesis: Epistolary topographies in Carrington’s letters
Tamboukou, M. 2011. Rethinking the private hypothesis: Epistolary topographies in Carrington’s letters. Emotion, Space and Society. 4 (1), pp. 25-34.
In this paper I look into the letters of Dora Carrington, a British artist who lived and worked in the first half on the 20th century in the UK. I am particularly interested in her life-long interest in decorating private spaces and making delightful illustrations of them in her letters. Carrington’s longlife interest in turning lived spaces into works of art went hand in hand with her overall disillusionment with her paintings. The paper discusses the problem of why a young woman artist in the peripheries of the Bloomsbury group had difficulties in devoting herself to her art. This problem I argue has to be considered within what drawing on Foucault I have called the private hypothesis, the long held argument that the private has been socially constructed and experienced as ’a space’ for women. My argument is that for Carrington as for many of her contemporaries it was not the access to the public but the negotiation of solitude and privacy that emerges as a problem. Carrington’s love and passion for private spaces and her epistolary topographies are expressions of spatial technologies of the female self: an artistic intervention in reclaiming solitude and privacy and in reinventing herself.
|Keywords||Carrington; Epistolary topographies; Letters; Private hypothesis; Spatial technologies; Women artists|
|Journal||Emotion, Space and Society|
|Journal citation||4 (1), pp. 25-34|
|Accepted author manuscript|
|Web address (URL)||http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.emospa.2010.06.001|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||11 Feb 2011|
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