C’mon. Get up.

By Michele Landel

C’mon. Get up. is a highly personal biographical work of art and a commentary on a universal female experience. Started in early 2020, C’mon. Get up. was completed in the suburbs of Paris during France’s eight-week confinement relating to the COVID-19 virus.

It is not that the rock is impossible to carry, but with her hands at her side and nothing under her eerie smile, the woman embroidered onto the bed sheets is unable to pick up the rock and move. Instead, she greets the viewer with an empty stare and a vague smile as if everything is fine, she is not lying on the ground, and the rock is not there.

By cutting eyeholes in the fabric, the artist has created a mask. She encourages the spectator to imagine crawling between the bedsheets, there to be protected from the plague, and to hide from the world, but also feel the rock, which is there to represent the domestic burden that has become heavier and heavier for women.

The artist is expressing her own complicated and conflicted feelings during this strange moment in history. Almost overnight, her art career disappeared. Numerous public art exhibitions, gallery exhibitions, and art fairs were canceled, which prevented her from showing her work and earning her usual income. Borders were closed, which stopped her from visiting family and friends outside of France. The education of her three school-age children suddenly became her responsibility, and she simultaneously found herself locked at home cooking, cleaning and shopping for her family. Pinned down, powerless, and overwhelmed, she was also expected to “keep calm and carry on”.

The photograph printed on the bed sheets is a digital mix of a low-resolution screenshot sourced from an online clothing catalog combined with a photograph of the artist. The image was divided and printed across fifteen rectangles then assembled and stitched to form a life-size woman. Using the intimacy associated with stained and mended secondhand bed sheets and the machine embroidery connected with craft, the artist is referencing the domestic while also deliberately distancing herself from quilting and other traditional fiber arts.

Image list

  1. Com’on Get Up | fabric, thread, and rock, size varies, 2020
  2. Com’on Get Up | fabric, thread, and rock, size varies, 2020 (floor)
  3. Com’on Get Up | fabric, thread, and rock, size varies, 2020 (detail)
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