Íntimo y personal (Intimate and Personal)

Esther Ferrer

San Sebastián, Spain, 1937
  • Date: 
    1977 and 1992
  • Technique: 
    Typography and gelatin silver print on paper
  • Descriptive technique: 
    Work consisting of a score, twenty-one photographs of the 1977 action (Atelier Lerin, París) and twenty photographs of the 1992 action (Atelier Lerin, Paris)
  • Dimensions: 
    Score: 31,1 x 24,5 cm / Photograph: 18,7 x 12,6 cm
  • Category: 
    Performance, Photography
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 

Multiple artwork

This artwork belongs to a series.

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Esther Ferrer had worked with the body in previous performances, but Íntimo y personal (Intimate and Personal) is set in a context that loads the piece with meanings: the sudden explosion of topless sex comedies onto Spanish cinema screens and the international rise of feminist art. The performance offered the participants the possibility of measuring parts of the body, their own and others. The artist herself claimed that the piece was based on the phallocentric need for checking and measuring. The action consisted of writing down the measurements of parts of different people’s bodies, while dressed or naked, standing or lying down, in couples, in groups or alone. Depending on the resulting measurements, Ferrer’s instructions put forward a variety of options which intended to illustrate the non-productivity of the measuring at the centre of the performance: “1) If the participants have written the numbers down on a chalkboard, they can add them up being careful to not make a mistake, but unafraid to do so. They can also write the numbers down on the floor and step on them (which will, in turn, facilitate their mingling with other participants); 2) Repeat the number as many times as they wish, setting it to the rhythm or tune of the song or symphony of their choice; 3) Do whatever they wish, either alone or with other interested participants; 4) Leave quietly; 5) Burn the numbers, ticks or notes stuck to their body in an ashtray, etc.” The work presents a radical critique of the body’s representation (particularly the female body, since the photographs document the act of measuring the artist), and the commercialisation of the human being, which carries with it the eradication of the private sphere.

Carmen Fernández Aparicio