"Unleashed and raging, she belongs to the race of waves. She arises, she approaches, she lifts up, she reaches, covers over, washes a shore, flows embracing the cliffs least undulation, already she is another, arising again, throwing the fringed vastness of her body up high…”
-Hélène Cixous “The Newly Born Woman”
For her first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, Rehm has taken the title of a cryptic and sparsely documented work that dancer Hélène Vanel performed for the opening of the 1938 International Exhibition of Surrealism. While details vary, all accounts describe the work as an erotically charged hysterical fit performed on disheveled beds inside Duchamp’s coal sack room. The evocative photographs of Vanel’s performance served as the inspiration for Rehm’s new series of drawings that continue her exploration into the complex relationship between the female body, representation, and myth.
While “The Unconsummated Act” has been noted as the first surrealist dance, Vanel has been nearly erased from history and multiple sources report that she perished in a concentration camp. In fact, she lived into her eighties and in later life penned a memoir of her rich life in the avant garde of Paris and London.
The exhibition is accompanied by an artist pamphlet featuring a collage by Rehm and a text by Sara Fowler.
Cindy Rehm is an artist and an educator. She is the co-founder and director of Craftswoman House, a project dedicated to presenting feminist centered works in Southern California. From 2003-2006, Rehm directed the DIY installation space spare room in Baltimore, Maryland. She is the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship in Media from the Tennessee State Arts Commission, a Learning to Love You More Grant, and a Faculty Development Grant from Middle Tennessee State University.
Rehm’s work in drawing, performance, and video has been shown at national and international venues including: Woman Made Gallery: Chicago, LACE; Los Angeles, Goliath Visual Space; Brooklyn, Paul Robeson Gallery; Rutgers, ARC Gallery; Chicago, Transformer; Washington DC, Interaction IV; Sardinia, Italy, and the Archeological Museum; Varna, Bulgaria and at Mains d’Oeuvres; Saint Ouen, France. Rehm’s work may be viewed at cindyrehm.com