You want to make me into a flower? I also have roots and from them I could flower. Earth, water, air and fire are my birthright too. Why abandon them to let you appropriate them and give them back to me. Why seek ecstasy in your world when I already live elsewhere. (…) Before I knew you, already I was a flower. Must I forget that, to become your flower?” (Irigaray 1992, 34, Passions élémentaires).
How does one make art of the female body, of its morphology, and of the erotic, while avoiding the dominant sexual metaphoricity which is scopic and organized around the male gaze? Perhaps we perceive of it instead in terms of space and thresholds and fluids, fire and water, air and earth, without objectifying, subordinating or essentializing it.
Hannah’s work speaks of fluidity, object/surface and the perception of interactivity relating to a virtual form of tactility. Traversing the paradox between the prohibition of touch in relation to art – and an erotic’s of painting, interactivity relates to seduction: a correlation that enacts the ‘erotics’ of painting, and seeks to engage the viewer immediately in anaesthetics of the feminine, utilising tactile participation, close and yet distancing at the threshold of vision and touch.
Her practice including paintings, installations and soundscapes, demands more than our capacity to critique; it demands our bodies, the slow trail of an eye-finger… It is therefore not possible to view her work without incorporation, reflection, multiplication; offering an alternative to ways of seeing, which demands a particular distance between subject and object, a vacillation, tactility. The viewing experience takes place as if between (at least) two subjects, and leads us on to consider intersubjective relations, in an attempt to mobilize a possible other ‘female imaginary’.