Book Signing: Caroline Tompkins

Saturday 18 May 2024
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Palm* Studios, Discovery, D11

© Caroline Tompkins, Bedfellow

Bedfellow is about the intrinsic relationship between women, sex, and fear. Caroline Tompkins’ photographic series explores the primal vulnerability and power dynamics inherent in gender constructs.

While sex can be a positive, lifelong experience, women also bear the burden of violence, often perpetrated by men in the pursuit of power. The dichotomies between soft and hard, lust and violence, and heaven and hell are all recurring tropes throughout the series. The normalization of this violence in everyday life is exemplified by the expectation placed on women to take safety measures, such as carrying pepper spray, not consuming alcohol in excess, and informing friends of their whereabouts.

These expectations run parallel to the societal expectation of women to engage in lasting relationships with men and to bear children. Such contradictions lead to an intriguing question regarding the impact of fear on female desire. Tompkins’ personal experience as a woman who both desires and fears men informs her use of the heterosexual “female gaze” to subvert the objectification of women in Western art.