Helena Walsh

Tight Lipped Labia


Tight Lipped Labia   Tight Lipped Labia   Tight Lipped Labia
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This performance is based on the cosmetic procedures employed to improve the aesthetic appearance of the vagina and / or tighten the vagina for improved sexual functioning. In the performance the artist adopts the role of both patient and surgeon. Using a specially designed “Self-Surgery Chair” to perform a sterile surgical procedure on her own vagina the artist  questions the ways in which women choose self-enslavement to the sanitizing effect of the beauty myth. Through the symbolic action of tying her vagina up with pretty ribbons the artist’s both makes her vagina aesthetic and tightens it. This procedure is projected live and in close-up on a large screen during the performance, exploding the myths that shroud the female genitalia in secrecy. Another projection displays vaginas manipulated to mouth the words of two male plastic surgeons discussing the benefits of their surgical procedures. Through investigating the role of these surgeons as spokespersons for the female body the performance examines the demonization of the female body and the systematic containment of female sexuality. Thus, Tight Lipped Labia questions the boundaries between female empowerment and  subjection related to the cosmetic surgery industry.