Untitled - Your Body is a Battleground is a photographic piece taken in 1989 by the renounced artist, Barbara Kruger. Kruger is well known to incorporate #social issues into her artworks by utilising her photography skills with slogans, proverbs, and #phrases. The image conveys a series of messages which are meant to be grasped by the audience with a simple glance.
The issue raised in Your Body is a Battleground revolves around #feminism, and the right of women to choose. Chosen to be displayed in her book, “Love for Sale”, the image was primarily used to support the cause raised in 1989, putting the choice in women’s hands when it comes to deciding whether or not they are willing to go for abortion, as it is their body, and therefore, their battle. This is also highlighted by the use of white bold font with a red background, which is centred as to state its importance.
The picture is of a woman, dressed in the #fashion of the 1950s, staring straight ahead, right at the audience, with a vertical line separating the two halves of her face. There are several layers and key meanings behind it. The gaze serves to prove that women are #powerful and capable of confrontation, which further moralises their cause to be qualified to choose their own path in life. Kruger stated that she was inspired by the British writer John Berger’s words, “Men act as women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at” (Berger, 2003), which is meant to objectify women in the gaze of a man.
Moreover, the vertical line, which is perfectly #symmetrical as to embody the highly sought-after and unrealistic vision most men want in a women, ergo causing women, in turn, to desire, divides the face into a positive and a negative, further implementing the concept of the double-standards faced by women in the society on a daily basis. The focal point of the concept is “Positive versus negative, white versus black, good versus bad” (Kruger, 1990). The negative space may be thought to focus on the features that men focus most on in a woman: lips, nose, eyes, and hair. Also, Kruger is commonly found focusing on stereotyping, mentioning that it is a “domain as that of figures without bodies” (Kruger, 1990). To battle the popular stereotype that women are meant to be nothing but accessories for men, the duality of the image imposes the thought that women have more than one side, and there is more than what meets the eye. As to compensate for the stoic features in the woman’s face, the borders of the poster are red. Red is a colour used to depict raw emotion, energy, anger, and boldness.
Your Body is a Battleground perfectly portrays several strong messages which could be acquired easily by the audience. The layered messages are easily relayed with a simplistic approach to the photograph. Her consistent depiction of feminism in her numerous artworks proves just how dedicated she is to her cause.