Schneemann, Carolee (1939–) By Levin, Erica
Carolee Schneemann is an American artist (born in Pennsylvania, United States) whose work interrogates vision as embodied experience. She has produced films made to be screened in conventional theatrical contexts, and has also innovated the use of filmic and video-graphic elements in collage environments and happening-like performances. Schneemann is known within the larger context of post-war art for incorporating her own body into works of performance such as Eye/Body (1963), Meat Joy (1964), Interior Scroll (1975), and Up To And Including Her Limits (1973–1976). Trained as a painter, she embraced film as a means of radically expanding the medium beyond the canvas. Her process is rooted in the dynamic relation between perception and visibility, particularly as it concerns the body’s legibility within a social matrix of power and difference. In her film Fuses (1967), she works against conventional cinematic codes of eroticism while exploring her sexual relationship with composer James Tenney. The work, a densely layered collage, records moments of lovemaking and everyday life over the course of a year. Schneemann emphasises the haptic and tactile qualities of vision by baking, stamping, and exposing the film to natural elements, drawing an analogy between the materiality of bodies on screen and the celluloid substance of the film itself.