Appt 73 (video) combines personal documentation of cosmetic hair removal, historical imagery of a female Saint blessed with a beard, and modern day understandings of hair growth, to explore gender / representation, medical diagnoses, as well as an unwritten history of violence against women, non-binary and trans people. The patron Saint of relief from tribulations, in particular by women who wished to be liberated from abusive husbands/situations, sprouted a beard after praying to be freed from her arranged marriage, St. Wilgefortis has been mis-construed and attacked throughout history. Her attacks come through her aesthetic and visual characteristics, which according to many are a grotesque aberration of the image of Christ. Her image has been destroyed and hidden countless times in varying spaces.
Appt 73 attempts to juxtapose the history of this denigrated Saint with a contemporary understanding and, ultimately a ‘solution,’ to that which was her demise — a beard. Through the narrative and visuals the viewer is presented with an underlying reality of gender presentation vs. desire, which begs the question of why in fact is a solution sought?
This and the following product images are representations of the various ways in which women and femmes can cosmetically "deal" with their hirsutism, or unsightly hair growth. The products represent the capital that goes into the act of survival, aka performing femininity, in a capitalist and patriarchal society. How much must one spend in order to just contend?
A Statue of St. Wilgefortis in Westminster Abbey, UK.