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Les Papesses- Palais des Papes, Avignon and Collection Lambert, Avignon

Pope’s palace populated by she-popes

First, Joan impersonates the pontiff,
Oh Petre, pater patrum, Papisse prodito partum!
And now this!

Camille, Louise, Kiki, Jana and Berlinde ride in, red robes aflow
leaving behind not flesh babies but objects all sizes.
Some bronze, some wax, some paper, some more like flayed flesh.
A dead figure hanging from a pedestal—not Christ on the cross but animal, still.

These wild-maned, long-haired father-mothers invade the House.
Inside: a smaller house that is a mirror, a school, a reflection of a dream,
then another huge house (cage?) under a spider’s tall legs,
and next to her, the planets.

Cosmos of she-wolves brings forth
a bed made of bread, then beds and beds stacked beyond our heads.
Ice chairs melting, a dissolution.
Ink, paper, color where women wed their favorite beast.

Bronze melts under her touch, bends and shapes what she wants:
A mantle and fire, burning.
Images, signs singed in my cortex
I want you to feel the way I do.

Open, vulnerable, strong, irreverent.
Some adjectives to hang on these mother-fathers
as old stones (stoned?) tell stories.

Stories of births and ghosts (witches/bitches) and institutions
Of chairs fighting with birds or flying away with them
Of humans who aren’t human, but something else
Of bodies in pain and transformation. Of rebellion.

In order of appearance:
Camille Claudel, Louise Bourgeois, Kiki Smith, Jana Sterbak, and Berlinde de Bruyckere.

Berlinde de Bruyckere's Aanen-geenaid and Bloedend Haar
Louise Bourgeois’s Maman (or Spider) and Altered States.
Jana Sterbak’s Planetarium, Bread Bed, A Dissolution, I want you to feel the way I do, and La princesse et le petit pois.
Camille Claudel’s Profonde Pensée.
Kiki Smith's Earth and Pyre Woman kneeling.

About Author

Gabriela Jauregui (b. Mexico City, 1979) is the author of Controlled Decay (Akashic Books/Black Goat Press, 2008) and co-author of Taller de Taquimecanografía (Tumbona, 2012). She writes for Frieze, and has recent or forthcoming reviews in Aperture, Art Papers, ...ment, and Art Agenda amongst others.

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