‘We always come back to the foundations, to rudiments of life, death and desire. Cock and cunt are the keys, and that’s what we are. Eros and Thanatos. We are love and death in equal parts’ Sue Fox ‘The Visceral Tear’
Writing an introduction to the art of others is a delicate thing. One must personally resonate with the work in order to encapsulate and celebrate it. It isn’t necessary to agree with perspectives but there is a need to think, ‘does this go against my own beliefs and morality and will affiliating with these words degenerate my processes and progressions?’
I am a feminist of course and my view of reality is coloured by the creative and spiritual perceptions which are my building blocks for life and art. I work with the dead, the discarded and the taboo; learning from them and listening to their stories, in order to acknowledge progress and move forward.
Sue Fox is woven from the same cloth as myself; using the taboo as a marker for that what needs to be experienced and expressed, in order to transform and be transformed.
I first met Sue many years ago, when she facilitated my being involved in an art event involving Ron Athey. My mother had just died and I was on a huge journey of exploration, trying to make sense of the changes in my life and translate them into the artistic expressions that were and are my necessary form of communication.
We cross paths on occasion; invariably in a flurry of passion, inspiration and excitement about a new creative manifestation or project. She is hugely supportive of the work of others, and always gives her all.
Sue Fox is beauty.
Even in her confrontational performance art, she and her work effects a way of looking at things that creates shifts in understanding; her work embodies Karuna, divine compassionate love, and also Kali, she who will destroy anything that stands in the way of this love.
Sue Fox’s work has teeth.
Her ‘Post Mortem’ book which she generously allowed me to use images from in the anthology, ‘A Contemporary Western Book of the Dead’ epitomises this creative confrontation.
Images that shock, displace, fascinate, and then shake away conditionings to produces insight.
So we move onto CUNT. ‘The Visceral Tear’.
I know Sue, I knew and loved her previous work, but still had a degree of trepidation when she asked me to introduce her Roman a clef, revolving around CUNT which was compiled from diary entries, correspondences, msn’s and letters written from 2008-2011.
In reality this novel reflects more than simply three years; it holds lifetimes of experiences, of the writer and of all women.
Before I even read ‘The Visceral Tear’, I reacted to it, and reacted strongly, with aversion and fear that came from the gut, not from the intellect.
Cunt. I’d just moved from New Zealand to England and was working in a pub, a labourer’s hard drinking post work bar. One night I said to the customers who were loudly cunting this and fucking that, ‘please don’t speak like that, its offensive’…and was laughed at and abused by them.
Further back as a child, living in a hippy commune where ‘Our Bodies Ourselves’ ‘The Women’s Room’ ’Down Under the Plum Trees’ and ‘The Little Red Schoolbook’ muddled in with Anais Nin and Henry Miller in the book case.
Women examining their vaginas, and my mother throwing a house party when I started my menstruation. My being brought up by a woman who didn’t want me to be suppressed as she had been, but instead be free and at ease with myself on every level.
I pushed through the issues and learned aversions and started to read Sue’s novel, and found myself being walked through poetry and musings, fantasies and history, dirt and reality.
A long, long walk that sometimes was a run of terror, sometimes a languorous loping, sometimes a childish skip.
Yes ‘The Visceral Tear’ is erotic, but not pornographic as there were no air brushings, no abstracts of hairless, silicon romping. This was real; messy; littered with pain and grit; obsession and analysis.
The land that is travelled in ‘The Visceral Tear’ is similar to the landscape many women journey in; forbidden zones where fantasy becomes degenerate and muddied because it is so politically incorrect, so tainted by bogeymen and the forbidden that it should never be talked about let alone be fuel for masturbation and orgasm.
However Sue does talk, she murmurs she screams and her orgasms carry us to freedom
The word ‘reclaim’ has been overused so many times over the years, to the point it has near lost its meaning. However this great work re-empowers the word.
This book is about reclaiming the cunt, proclaiming it. Demanding recognition of its power and vulnerability, giving CUNT a voice that rolls and ejaculates and orgasms how great, how vulnerable, how powerful, it, she, is.
The key lies in the title. Visceral. The response of the body, as opposed to the intellect. Some of the subject matter in this book is heavy, painful and I personally would find that intellectualising it, would provide safety and comfort.
Sue Fox doesn’t opt for that easier approach, she feels the pain, lives and relives it and yes, at point analyses her reactions but only as part of a progression that leads to emotional insight.
The Visceral Tear is art, it is spirit, and it is brave, beautiful and true.
The Visceral Tear is CUNT, cunt with teeth, with lips, with history, and many, many children.
The Visceral Tear is an act of love, and I salute it.