Statement for the conference 'Questions on Women's Art', ICA, London, 15-16 Nov 1980
Yes, if it is understood to be so, and if one brings the consciousness of a larger, collective struggle to bear on questions of personal life, in the sense of regarding the two spheres as both dialectically opposed and unitary.
No, if attention is narrowed down to the privatized tinkering with one's solely private life, divorced from any collective effort or public act, and simply goes on to name this personal concentration as political. For art, this can mean doing work that looks like art has always looked, challenging little, but about which one claims that it is political just because it was done by a woman. (There is, in fact, a lot of these claims being made.)
Yes, if one exposes to view the socially constrained elements within the supposed realm of freedom of action - namely, 'the personal.'
No, if one simply insists on protecting one's right to autonomy and regards the triumph of personal politics as a publicly emancipatory act.
Yes, if one is sensitive to the different situations of people within society with respect to taking control of their private lives, but no, if one simply urges everyone to 'free themselves' or 'change their lives'.
Yes, if we understand how to make these demands for the right to control our lives within the context of a struggle for control over the direction of society as a whole.
From: Feminism Art Theory: An anthology 1968-2014, edited by Hilary Robinson (2015), p68