The pieces of jewellery in the “Cyclical” series make visible some of the many representations connected with the female menstruation - they are based on imprints of my own blood-stained pads during a randomly selected period.
“Cyclical” plays with the fact that jewellery is both decorative and ritual and with classic sets of opposites as for example masculine/feminine, positive/negative, internal/external, hard/soft, visible/invisible, appealing/disgusting, natural/unnatural, self-exposure/modesty, tradition/development, liberated/inhibited, valuable/worthless.
"Abdominal Jewellery" consists of 19 brooches made of photo paper – 19 stylised menstrual pads. In accordance with prevailing sensibilities of menstruation as something that should neither be revealed nor depicted, the blood stains on the 19 "pads" were cut out – and thus rendered visible.
Placed close together, staggered under one another from the belly button down, the 19 brooches resemble a loin cloth. As the wearer of this "Abdominal Jewellery" moves and bends over, the piece unfolds, and the gaps left in "pads" after the censoring form a three-dimensional womb-like cavity.
At first glance, this is an external sign of femininity, but it also has a masculine character, not least due to its external character. "Abdominal Jewellery" refers to Freud and his idea that girls and women suffer from penis envy. In psychoanalysis, menstruation is associated with castration anxiety, and Freud associates the blood with the notion of the woman as a castrated man.
In this jewellery object, the blood stains from the 19 menstrual pads that formed the basis for "Abdominal Jewellery" were sawn out in a silver sheet. Silver is symbolically associated with the moon and virginity.
The sawn-out "blood stains" were placed on top of each other, held together in one single point. Thus, the brooch unfolds like a fan in various flower formations – the flower being an ancient symbol of female fertility. In its fully unfolded version the brooch also resembles a clock, the "blood stains" simultaneously acting as clock face and hands. The brooch is a sort of menstruation clock that marks the wearer's current place in the menstrual cycle.
In this object, the blood stains from the 19 menstrual pads were, again, sawn out in a silver sheet and then combined to form a flower – a three-dimensional flower resembling a water wheel, mounted on a band of rolled silver. Placed on the inner thigh between the woman’s legs, the water wheel suggests the dripping of menstrual blood and makes a reference to the menstruating woman's energy level. It is a widespread belief that menstruating women are low on energy, although multiple studies have found that many women are actually full of energy during their period.
"Inner-Thigh Jewellery" addresses another of the many perceptions about menstruating women: the idea that menstruation and sex neither should nor can be combined. Certain cultures actually consider it dangerous for the man to have intercourse with a menstruating woman. "Inner-Thigh Jewellery” can be seen as a sort of chastity belt, but it also plays with an erotic cliché: the garter.