Post-Partum Document: Introduction, by Mary Kelly, 1973

Mary Kelly, Artist
Post-Partum Document: Introduction , 1973

Perspex units, white card, wool vests, pencil, ink
4 units, 10 x 8 in. (25.4 x 20.3 cm) each
Credit Line
Collection of Eileen Harris Norton. Image courtesy of Mary Kelly and Postmasters Gallery, New York

Charting a system of signs—a complex psychic, material, indexical portrait of a mother-child relationship—Mary Kelly's Post-Partum Document: Introduction explores the psychic and signifying processes of maternity. Although the affective intensity of the worn infant clothing—fetish object, index, and memorial—seems to stand in contrast to the cold mediation of the Lacanian diagram inscribed on it, these elements nonetheless refer back to each other. By disabling hard-and-fast distinctions between intellect and emotion, theory and sentiment, Kelly points to the multiple and interrelated systems through which the concept of motherhood takes shape.