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Naked

Maite Cajaraville


“The exteriorisation of an act that is considered part of the private sphere”. Naked is a video about the action of going from a hairy pubis to a shaven one, to a rebirth, together with the loss of the past and its fringes, always dying to go back to the lost innocence of childhood.

In this video Maite Cajaraville shows her vagina on a toilet seat. This is a domestic event, a private performative action: she is shaving her pubis. Starting with Courbet’s representation of a woman’s vagina in The origin of the world, Cajaraville starts shaving her pubis’ hair until she exhibits the vagina of Duchamp’s Etant données, “to arrive at the ultimate reality of the feminine body”.

Although the shaving act may arouse some people, in this video any eroticism is annulled, due to the crudeness of the recording. The act is displaced onto the sphere of the banal. In spite of the popular saying: “where there is hair, there is happiness”, hair also implies carelessness in its owner. Whereas in oriental cultures women dedicated great interest to depilation as a form of hygiene, in christianity no such thing was ever practiced, as it was considered to go against christian morals.

Cajaraville executes a “slow and exhaustive process”, as a given court sentence, the loss of hair rebellion in favour of the aesthetic normalisation of cleanliness, preventing nature from acting in its full capacity “as a search and form of liberation”.

What is exceptional about this video emerges out of the play of speeds in the process. Moments of tension are slowed down (like letting the cut hair fall), and the combination of sounds of car racing, scratches, German speaking children, and, to finish, the sounds of liberating, albeit mechanical, birds. From a psychoanalytic perspective, this video talks about a symbolic form of childhood fixation, getting rid of adolescent rebellion, during which hair blooms.

The artist, inscribed, at the start of this video, within a game of virtual mirrors, develops, by means of a home video nude, a metamorphosis of her own person. The evolutions into polymorphic identities that will follow, start from zero in this visual autobiography.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Naked
  • Direction: Maite Cajaraville
  • Production: Institut für Neue Medien, Frankfurt. 1995.
  • Duration: 00:02:50
  • Languages: German
  • Original format: High 8
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright