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AN IMPOSSIBLE LOVE: SUBJECTION AND EMBODIMENT IN PAULA REGO'S POSSESSION

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Abstract:

Paula Rego's work is frequently considered in terms of a feminist subversion of the tenets of patriarchy. Here, I analyse a group of seven panels made in pastel, in order to throw light on the relationship between obedience and resistance in the formation of female subjects in Rego's work, exploring the interpellative underpinnings that shape and constrain them. Examined in relation both to the imagery of hysteria deployed by nineteenth-century French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot and to the Freudian concept of transference, Possession, I argue, performs the condition of an impossible love in its address to an object empowered by the very relationship that instates it as object. I propose that Rego's work may be read in relation to a feminist politics that acknowledges the Symbolic Order and its paternal legacy.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8365.2007.00533.x

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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